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NHRC Opposes Government Suggestion

Posted April. 14, 2005 23:21,   


As the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRC: President Cho Young-hwang) has decided to issue a revision opinion that the bill on irregular workers does not satisfy the criteria for labor human rights protection, the government and the business circles are dissatisfied.

Accordingly, grave turbulence is expected in the passage of the irregular workers bill, which the tripartite commission parties began substantial discussions on in the National Assembly.

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The NHRC announced yesterday that it will elucidate its revision opinion to the Labor Ministry and the National Assembly that a review on the “bill on the protection and use of temporary workers” and the “revision bill on the protection of dispatched workers” determined that the bills were not sufficient enough to resolve discrimination against irregular workers or protect their labor rights.

Unlike a “recommendation,” relevant agencies do not have to respond whether they would accept the NHRC’s “opinion” or not.

To begin with, regarding the bill on temporary workers, the NHRC agreed that “it is necessary to stipulate that [a company] can hire temporary workers only when there is an understandable need, and there should be a fixed limit on the period that temporary workers can be used.”

In addition, it made it clear that the bill should clearly stipulate “equal pay for equal work” for temporary workers.

In other words, the NHRC adopted the labor circles’ argument that the hiring of temporary workers should be limited to exceptional reasons and on the principle of equal pay for equal work.

For dispatched workers, however, the NHRC pointed out, “Considering the reality, it is reasonable to review ways to either guarantee a dispatched worker’s wage to be more than a certain proportion of that of directly recruited worker, or limit the compensation from an employer who has dispatched his worker at a fixed rate.”

Concerning the government’s suggestion for an all-out expansion of work areas for dispatched workers, the NHRC commented, “Since labor abuse of dispatched workers is serious, the current positive method (which approves the types of industries in which workers can be dispatched in a limited way) is desirable.”

About guaranteeing the three primary labor rights, the NHRC also stated, “[We] should come up with a way for the dispatched workers to participate in labor-management consultations so that they can exercise their rights to organize and bargain collectively against their employers.”

Standing committee member Jeong Kang-ja said, “In the plenary session, seven out of eight members agreed as such. This opinion is a suggestion of basic principles and direction to the bills; the specifics should be decided through autonomous labor-management negotiations.”