Half of the 8.5 million women workers in Korea are irregular workers. The wage of non-regular female workers is only 35.4% of the regular male workers' wages, and the gap in average monthly wage is the largest among OECD countries. The same applies to the minimum wage, which is supposed to ensure the minimum standard of living. Out of 2 million workers who are paid below the minimum wage, 64% are women and most of them are irregular workers.


 Because they are female, they are temporary workers and they are paid low wage because they are temporary workers. Because women are employed with low wage, a vicious cycle continues.


 Women's labor has always been underestimated. Types of businesses and jobs are limited for women and only marginal tasks are assigned to women. In particular, care work, which women have been mainly doing, is more devalued than others.


 With this reality, the administration of Park is expanding only part-time jobs, in the name of eliminating career cuts and increasing the employment rate of women. As a result, the quality of women's employment is getting worse and the domestic work and child-rearing are regarded as women's work while demanding the balance between work and family only to women.


 In schools where equality should be taught, irregular positions are filled by women workers. Paying about half of the wage of regular workers, the schools require high-intensity labor to female workers. Basic livelihood is not even secured because the workers are not paid during summer/winter vacation periods.


 Even though the state is responsible for the care work, private sector has taken the business without concerns for the public. Serving as on-call-workers and part-times, the workers are exposed to a precarious situation where they can lose their job by a word of the employer. Especially, the assistants for people with disabilities are paid below minimum wage.


 The situation is not different for workers with indirect employment such as in the industry of cleaning services. Workers hired by indirect employment, which mostly consist of older women workers, are usually forced to renew their contracts with other users every year. Wages are also as low as the minimum wage level. In recent years, some employers paid even less than the minimum wage by reducing work hours for the same amount of work to increase the intensity of the labor. Although the guidelines for management of public sector services stipulate the employment stability and the standard price for the service, they are useless in the field.


 In order to resolve discriminatory low wages of these women, the minimum wage should be raised first. Even though the minimum wage is the least of compensation for the work, it becomes the standard for the wage of female irregular workers. Raising the minimum wage above 10,000 won is the fist step to ensure security of basic livelihood and the social safety net that can protect female irregular workers from the worst situation. The government should address root-causes of discriminatory practices towards irregular workers and female worker starting from the public sector.

 We are workers who are entitled to respect from all. We are daughters of this land who have the right to live as a human being without discrimination.

 We urge for following changes and hereby adopt a resolution to fight until our demand is met.


 First, raise the minimum wage above 10,000 won for living!

 First, eliminate the low wages from the public sector!

 First, respect women's labor and ensure equal pay for equal work!

 First, eliminate discrimination against irregular workers!

 First, we oppose different application of minimum wage by industry!


June 24, 2016

Posted by KWWA

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