'We are pro-style~,' 12-12-12 International Campaign for Home Care Workers:
"Ratify ILO Convention on fundamental human rights for domestic workers!!

 

On last December 5 when heavy snow was forecasted, people started to gather at the Kwang-wha-moon Square against the dark gray sky.

 

People wearing an apron and a hood are in a row, dancing passionately to the rhythm of one of the hottest music, 'Kangnam Style.' The people changed the lyrics to 'We are pro-style,' a version for home care workers, and sang and danced together.

 

"We are the women managing houses/ We are the leaders trying to removing social prejudices/ We are happy when the ILO Convention is to be ratified/ We are women doing such great activities.

 

We are women workers/ We are firm workers/ We work so hard in the workplaces/ We are professional workers working passionately/ We are women workers

 

Ratify the ILO Convention/ Yeah that's you HEY, Yeah That's you That's you Hey/ Ratify the ILO Convention/ Yeah that's you HEY, Yeah That's you That's you Hey/ Let's carry on until it's completed/ We're pro-style, pro-style/ We're pro-style, pro-style."

 

Why they were dancing at the Kwang-wha-moon Square on the snowy day was to demand the government to ratify 'The ILO Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers,' as part of 12-12-12 International Campaign for Home Care Workers. Last year, the The ILO Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers was passed with exclusive agreement in its 100th general assembly. However, the Korean government delayed the expression of its clear view and just said that it would need time to ratify the ILO Convention and reform the related Labor Standard Act, although home care workers are not covered by the Labor Standard Act.

That's why home care workers including household workers, care workers, and in-home nursing workers were gathering together and calling for the ratification of the ILO Convention, on that day, expressing their demands through their bodies. The 50 home care workers had a joyous and happy time although it was snowing a lot.

 

People were very happy because their laughters were echoing at the Kwang-wha-moon Square as well as the blessing of snowflakes were falling a lot, which seems to predict our victory in 2013.

 

 

[Declamation]

The 18th Korean president, ratify the ILO Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers!

Do you know there are approximately 500,000 home care workers engaged in care service sectors such as household workers, baby sitting workers, care workers, postpartum health care workers, and geriatric care specialists?

 

An increasing number of women engaged in economic activities as well as a higher number of nuclear families and aged population, have caused both of the crisis in social care and socialization of care services, at the same time. The creation of decent jobs in the care service sector is regarded as crucial tasks in our society. For this, of course, we should cope with the social hazards such as the crisis in social care and employment insecurity in the sector.

 

About 300,000 workers in the informal sector who are dispatched to individual families are classified as 'domestic helpers' whom the Labor Standard Act does not cover, nor do industrial accident insurance and employment insurance, and basic social safety nets for working people.

 

Care workers are also workers because they work on the purpose of earning money. As needs for care services are increasing in our society, there have been an increasing number of care workers, too. We believe it is against the current of the time not to cover in-home care workers with the Labor Act though, on the ground of Clause No. 11 of the Labor Standard Act, 'Exclusion of domestic helpers,' and since the contract relationship is unclear and the government intervention is difficult because care labor usually takes place in a private space, individual home. However, the Labor Standard Act were enacted 60 years ago, which cannot cover new and modern matters.

 

Last year, in the 100th ILO general assembly, ‘The ILO Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers,’ the last crucial issue in the international labor society was exclusively agreed, which means that the world recognized the nondiscriminatory and equal labor right of the total number of 100 million in-home workers and guaranteed of social security rights such as industrial hazard and employment insurances. Currently, 4 countries such as the Philippines, Uruguay, Mauritius, and Nicaragua have completed their ratification of the convention, and more than 10 countries like Germany, Italy and Singapore are under discussion. However, Korea voted for the convention in the ILO general assembly, but the government has not made any comment about the ratification nor taken any step since the adaptation of the convention in the international arena.

 

Under this situation, in last August, 15 assembly members belonging to Saenuri Party, Democratic United Party (DUP), and United Progressive Party (UPP) proposed ‘The ILO Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers. Unprecedentedly, the Foreign Affairs & Unification Committee approved it with the exclusive agreement. This shows the legal protection of 'home care workers' who had been classified in the informal workers so far and placed in the blind spot of the Labor Act, is a very urgent task in these times, beyond party interests.

 

" Consideration and Respect“ towards caring are the important values for overcoming and curing the social hazards of neo-liberalism which is on the basis of competition and zero-sum game. Therefore, we believe care work, viewed as not that profitable in the labor market, should be protected by the nation and society, and the quality of care work should also be insured by the society. We believe providing better working conditions for care workers is the way to enhance the quality of social care. The protection of labor rights of care workers makes contribution to the creation of more decent jobs and the changing of our society to a warmer and healthier caring society.

 

The presidential election day is just around the corner. We, home care workers firmly demand the presidential candidates that the ILO Convention should be the first international convention that the 18th Korean president would ratify. We also strongly called for the protection of labor rights of home care workers through the reform of the Labor Standard Act and Society Insurance Act.

 

December 5, 2012

 

Korean Care workers NGO Network
The Korean Care workers NGO Network is a solidarity organizations composed of 18 organizations.

신고
Posted by KWWA

Women Workers Policy Tasks for 2012 Presidential Election

 

Aims of 5 Policies:

① Decrease the gender wage gap to the average level in OECD countries.

② Decrease the number of women irregular workers to half.

③ Increase women's employment rate to the average level in OECD countries.

④ Create our society for ensuring to balance jobs and family matters through the protection of maternity and parental rights.

⑤ Reinforce women worker related administration to remove the legal blind spots.

 

15 Policy Tasks:

 

1. Decrease the gender wage gap to the average level in OECD countries.

▶ Current situations:

- In 2009, the gender wage gap in Korea was 38.9%, which was the worst amongst OECD countries. Low wage workers amongst women wageworkers in Korea accounted for 42.7% which is the two times higher than the average in OECD countries. In Korea higher than level 4 women public officials comprised only 7.4% and women directors working at 10 biggest Korean companies simply 1.3%. However, many European countries such as Norway and France have already implemented affirmative action for comprising 40% women directors.

 

▶Demands:

① Increase the minimal wage to 50% of the average of monthly wages and expand the assistance in 4 social insurance fees.

- Legal reforms should be carried out to increase the minimal wages to 50% of the average of monthly wages and to provide assistances in social insurance fees for covering the all workers whose wages are 130% of the minimal wages regardless of company sizes. In particular, social insurance fee assistances are very important for the welfare of women irregular workers who often experience discrimination. However, it should be changed and improved since the scope of the assistance is too narrow. The increase to 50% of the average of monthly wage and the expansion of social insurance fee assistances will contribute to the improvement of poor working conditions, too.

 

② Ensure that public social service jobs should be paid 80% of the average of wages (about 1.6 million Won)

- Low paying social services jobs hired by the government should receive 80% (about 1.6 million Won) of average wages (2.1 million Won, as to August 2012 according to the Statistics Korea). For example, the first paycheck was 1.55 million Won for the Seoul Metropolitan local government's workers who were changed from the position of irregular workers. Currently, there are an increasing number of part-time jobs available to the women who are in their 50s and 60s. They usually work for their livelihood. This is because decent jobs are not easily available to them. When public and social service jobs can be upgraded to decent jobs, this will generate women's higher participation in economic activities, and then this will lead our country to a welfare nation with high quality of social services.

 

③ Allocate 30% for women directors in the public sector:

③-1. Implement affirmative action for women to comprise 30% directors in the public sector and 20% in the private sector.

③-2. Mandatorily publicize the situations of women directors in the public and private sector and research how to improve them.

- In 2010, in Korea, high-ranking women public officials accounted for only 2.4% and women managers with over level 4 comprised only 7.4%. In 2007 Korean introduced the affirmative action for increasing women directors in the public sector to more than 30%, but it hasn't gained fruits. In addition, in the private sector women directors accounted for only 6.8% in 2010, and further, the companies which don't have any women directors comprised 68.9%. However, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands introduced the affirmative action which has contributed to the increases in the number of women directors. Increasing women directors in the public and private sectors is to improve human diversities and to give more equal gender opportunities. To promote equal corporate cultures has a positive impact on recruiting excellent human resources and enhancing corporate images.

 

2. Decline the number of women irregular workers to half.

▶ Current situations:

Irregular women workers accounted for 61.8% (as on 2011), which is 1.5 times higher than male workers. Since 2008, while male irregular workers has been decreasing, the number of women workers has been rising. This shows women irregular workers are put in the blind spot of the Temporary Employee Protection Act. Moreover, there have been a higher number of part-time jobs, which is the worst case amongst irregular jobs. Up to 1.32 million women workers are involved in part time work, which shows the deteriorating situation of irregular women workers.

 

▶Demands:

④ Regularize 100% of irregular workers and ban outsourcing jobs: Regularize 100% of irregular workers in the public sector like schools and ban outsourcing jobs.

- The ratio(27.2%) of women irregular workers in the public sector is two times as high as males (13.4%), and that (19.3%) of women irregular workers working at central administrative institutions is 3~4 times higher than males (5.3%). In particular, women irregular workers account for 95% out of 150,000 irregular workers working at schools. Women irregular workers working at schools should start to be regularized. In addition, women's jobs get highly outsourced, because there are so many tedious work in the public sector that the government wants to avoid from regularizing irregular workers. From the public sector outsourcing jobs should be banned.

 

⑤ Ban using irregular workers: Ban using irregular workers and acknowledge that outsourced workers belong to mother companies.

- When the reasons for using irregular workers are controlled, the number of women irregular workers will be shrunk. In addition, in case of dispatching and outsourcing companies, accknowledging that outsourced and dispatched workers belong to mother companies will lead to the improvement of working conditions and employment safety.

 

⑥ Cover specially employed workers and household workers with the Labor Standard Act: Reform 'the Labor Standard Act' to acknowledge that specially employed workers and informal household workers are also workers.

- Up to the number of 416,000 specially employed women workers and 300,000 household workers are not accepted as workers. Even though they are hurt or lose their jobs, they are not able to be covered with industrial accident insurance or unemployment insurance. If the reform of the Labor Standard Act realizes that specially employed workers and household workers are also workers, they can be protected by laws and the number of irregular workers will be reduced.

⑦ Install Employment Welfare Fund for women irregular workers.

- There are increasing part-time workers mainly amongst youth in their 10s and 20s and old women in their 50s and 60s. 83.2% of them do not have employment insurance. In particular, women juveniles usually work in very small size companies, and so many of them are exposed to sexual harassment. Additionally, they can be allured into entertainment spots due to their livelihood. In order to help them enter to the labor market safely without their giving up their dreams, the government should install the Employement Welfare Fund to assist them and contribute to the improvement of discriminatory working conditions of irregular workers.

 

3. Increase women's employment rate to the average level in OECD countries.

▶ Current Situations:

In 2009 women's employment rate amongst those at age of 25~29 is 65.6%, far higher compared to other age groups and higher than the average (63.8%) in OECD countries. However, women's employment rate between the age of 30~ 34 is just 50.1%, which is much lower compared to the average (63.4%) in OECD countries. As of 2009, if Korean women's employment rate of the age group of 30~39 were the same as male employment rate, it would be expected to increase the total employment rates for women by 8.4% and decrease the gender employment gap.

▶Demands:

⑧ Install parental leave treatment one-stop windows: Ensure maternity leave and parental leave for irregular women workers and women working in very small-size companies.

- Irregular women workers and women working at very small-size companies don't receive 90 day maternity leave. That's because it is compulsory to get company owners' consents, even though maternity leave is legally ensured. However, it is very difficult for women workers, the social weak, to get maternity leave from company owners, without help from any trade unions which are generally not established at very small-size companies. Therefore, we believe one-stop window for treating maternity leave and parental leave should be installed to apply for maternity leave and parental leave easily, rather than talking to company owners directly. In the window, maternity protection counselors should be available to give suitable consultation to company owners and workers and to protect maternity leave and parental leave for women. This system will enable women to prevent their career breaks and stabilize the employment of women in their 30s.

 

⑨ Create social service jobs two times higher.

- Working women in low income family or of two paycheck couples have difficulties in balancing their jobs and family affairs, but social and public services for supporting them are not sufficient enough or largely lacking. It is necessary to have strategies for jumping into a welfare nation through providing public care services such as care for women in childbed, household work and child care, in order to reduce the burden of parents and prevent women's career breaks. The French government issues employment cheques and creates jobs in order to facilitate individual services and balance jobs and family matters. In particular, issuing childcare and household vouchers to single parents and two paycheck couples contributes to job creation in the public service sector and raising healthy children.

 

⑩ Newly install the right of urgent protection for sexual harassment victims in the workplace: Newly install the right of urgent protection for sexual harassment victims in the workplace and counseling & healing programs and punish attackers.

- According to a national survey (targeting 2,351 persons working at service companies whose employees are less than 30 persons), one out of 7 workers experience sexual harassment, and many of them are disadvantaged like stopping working (KWWA, 2012). However, the present law doesn't stipulate any detailed protection measures for sexual harassment victims or any punishment for attackers, either. Further, workers working at the very small companies employing less than 10 people are put in the blind spot of sexual harassment preventative education because sexual harassment education is compulsory for only the companies employing more than 10 workers, although sexual harassment often occur in the very small companies. It should be mandatory to provide urgent protection rights and counseling & healing programs for sexual harassment victims and punish attackers. The government should provide and assist sexual harassment preventative education up to the small size companies employing less than 10 workers. The expansion of sexual harassment preventative education and the protection of victims also contribute to the stabilization of women's employment.

 

4. Create a happy society for balancing jobs and family matters through the ensuring of maternity and paternity leave.

▶ Situations:

Korea has the annual average of 2,256 work hours, which is the world's longest. Since 1995 when Korea joined the OECD, Korea has been recorded as the nation with the longest working hours. The long hours culture is a factor to discourage people from balancing their jobs and family affairs, and to make Korean women become super women who have to take care of their jobs and family matters. all. That's why Korean working women's life satisfaction is lower than housewives.

 

▶Demands:

⑪ Provide one-month compulsory paternity leave for male workers: provide one-month compulsory paternity for male workers and support alternative manpower to those taking maternity and parental leave.

- One month paternity leave should be compulsory to men until their infants become one year old. Men's childcare experiences will encourage them to realize the importance of childcare activities and to balance men's jobs and family affairs, which will help our society to have more equal family cultures and corporate cultures. Additionally, the assistance to company owners ensuring parental leave should be realized to give monthly 200,000 Won, so that the society reduces the burden of parental leave from company owners. The realization of the assistance in alternative manpower will play an important role in stimulating women's economic activities through the activation of maternity leave and parental leave.

 

⑫ Install public postnatal care centers and run community childcare centers.

- Install public postnatal care centers, assist childbed fees and create related social service jobs. We believe setting up community childcare centers in unused spaces of community centers and sending community childcare instructors will activate communities and after-school child caring activities, and create public jobs.

 

⑬ Provide compulsory women workers related human right educations: provide compulsory women workers related human right education for youth.

- In Korea, youth has part-time at their younger ages, but their human rights are largely ignored because they don't know their minimum labor rights. They should know how and where to get help if they have problems. In addition, their community and cooperation-based education should be reinforced. As a regular school curriculum, education regarding women workers' labor rights should be mandatory in order to booster the social change to a happy society to balance jobs and family matters as well as the protection of youth's labor human right.

 

5. Reinforce administration for women workers to remove legal blind spots.

▶ Current situations:

Current policies related to working women are implemented separately by the Ministry of Women and Family and the Ministry of Employment and Labor. Under the Ministry of Women and Family, the Dept. of Women's Labor Force Development and the Dept. of Women's Career Break Assistance are in charge of re-employment policies for the women who cannot enter to the labor market. Under the Ministry of Employment and Labor, the Dept. of Women's Employment Policies is responsible for labor control for women workers. However, the Dept. of Women's Employment is removed and integrated to the Dept. of Labor Standard which has to cover many labor related matters. So it cannot specialize in the improvement of discrimination against employment, maternity protection and sexual harassment. The two different ministries' treatment of women workers' related policies, causes many problems such as the production of inconsistent and unspecialized policies.

 

▶Demands:

⑭ Install the Bureau of Women's Equal Employment in the Ministry of Employment and Labor: Install the Bureau of Women's Equal Employment in the Ministry of Employment and Labor and the Bureau of Balancing Jobs and Family Matters in the Ministry of Women and Family.

- Small size service industries where women workers are usually concentrated, are outside of labor inspection. For example, 65% of women workers are involved in small size wholesale or retailers, lodging and restaurants, and childcare, health and education services. In this light, the Dept. of Women's Employment Policies, in the Ministry of Employment and Labor should be upgraded to the Bureau of Women's Equal Employment and further, the Dept. of Women's Employment should be revived so as to enhance its specialty in women's labor inspection.

 

- Since the Ministry of Women and Family focuses on women's re-employment projects after career breaks, there is large lack of the projects for promoting balancing jobs and family matters and for preventing career breaks. Women are socially viewed as responsible for households and childcare activities, so a diversity of awareness-raising projects are needed for men to get actively involved in childcare and households. Therefore, we believe the Bureau of Balancing Jobs and Family Matters should be set up, so that feasible social atmosphere creation projects for balancing jobs and family matters for men and women, both, should be carried out.

 

⑮ Organize Women Workers' Human Right Center: Set up and run Women Workers' Human Right Center by city, province and Gu.

- Women workers as well as company owners don't know laws related to women's labor well. Women workers usually endure poor human right conditions, or stop working due to the violations of their human rights. So, if Women Workers' Human Right Center is run by city, province and gu, poor human right conditions of women workers would be improved and this would encourage the higher number of people to observe the law well.

 

신고
Posted by KWWA

 

 

On October 17, 'Reply, 2012: to the reasons for unfairness and unequality'
holding a women workers' political talk concert
<in Nicholao Hall of Catholic Youth Center October 17, 2012>

 

Why are our society unfair and unequal? Last Wednesday, October 17, 2012, women gathered together at Catholic Youth Center to find answers to the questions.

 

At 7:10, the curtain of darkness in the concert hall was drawn. Soon, the lights of the stage became on, and then, women workers started to walk on the stage. The talk concert began to talk about the next president that women workers hope and wish to become: 'I'd like to put the name of a Korean president on my list of the persons that I respect. For this, the president should respect Korean people first.' 'The honest president going along with common people,' 'The president who can change the job structure polarized between decent jobs and poor jobs,' 'Happy society in which MOMs can enjoy!'

 

In order to celebrate the concert, first of all, performances were put on by ‘Pado,' a dancing team of the Sogang University, Seoul Branch, KWTU and 'Ullalla Sisters,' a dancing team composed of care workers of Kuro Self-sufficiency Promotion Center. The two dancing teams danced so passionately that the concert hall was filled with shouts and excitement.

 

Choi Kwanggi, a specialized MC announced the full-scale launch of the women workers' political talk concert, saying "Women are the half of the world. I am emceeing this talk concert with a will for women to change our politics by themselves and take political action. Korea in 2012 must listen to women's voices. I'd like to start 'Reply, 2012' by welcoming the women workers who became in the center of the politics.'

 

Next, delegates from the three presidential camps, Yoo Seunghee, National Assembly member (president, Women's Committee of the camp of presidential candidate, Moon Jae In), Park Won-suk, National Assembly member (spokesperson, Preparation Committee of Progressive Justice Party), Shin Kyeong-A, professor of Hallim University (Women's policy team member of the camp of presidential candidate, Ahn Cheolsoo) were on the stage and started talks. During the talk, Kim Eunsook (a golf caddie and 88 branch president of KWTU) and Jung Eunhee (a nurse and mom) also made their speeches regarding their workplaces.

 

[Theme 1: Let's decrease the Korea's worst wage gap between men and women to the OECD level]

 

Choi Kwanggi: While the average of gender wage gaps in OECD countries is 15.8%, Korea's wage gap between men and women is 38.9%, which is 2.5 times worse compared to the OECD average. What alternatives do you have to decrease the gender wage gap?

 

Yoo Seunghee: Why there is the big wage gap by gender in Korea is career break and the minimum wage. Our camp agreed that the minimum wage should be realized in practice and the Minimum Wage Committee should be legalized. In addition, we also discussed that 350,000 jobs in the public sector should be created.

 

Shin Kyeong-A: The equality by gender should be at the center of all kinds of equality. In this light, gender wage gap is an important issue. In addition, women workers working at the small and medium size companies employing less than 30, accounted for nearly 65%. It means two thirds of Korean women workers cannot be covered by large company centered policies. The improvement of the working conditions for women workers working at small and medium size companies will have a great impact on the whole picture of gender wage gap. The minimum wage should also be increased to 50 % of the average wages.

 

Park Won-suk: Women workers have triple discrimination by gender, educational level and employment type. In particular, women irregular workers are the class at the bottom in Korea. In removing the complicated wag gap, the first principle is 'Equal pay for equal work.' In addition, the second principle is 'the minimum wage.' The increase to 50% of the average wages should be legalized. So, if the average wage is increased, the minimum wage should be increased, as well. The third principle is the social representation of women. The rate of women directors are needed to increase in the private sector as well as in the public sector.

 

[Theme 2: Decrease women irregular workers to half]

 

Choi Kwanggi: Many women workers including irregular workers have the worst working conditions. Women workers account for 60% of all the irregular workers, which shows women irregular workers are higher than male workers. We believe there should be urgent countermeasures.

 

Shin Kyeong-A: There is an answer to irregular workers' issue, but only the government and the society didn't accept it. Many of women workers' issues can be solved if 'equal pay for equal work' and 'the limited reasons of the use' are applied well in practice. Even though there is the principle of 'equal pay for equal work' there but it hasn't been practical so far. It is of great importance that the government should express its strong will to fulfill it and feasible systems related to the principle should be carried out in practice.

 

Park Won-suk: Compared to men regular workers, the wage of women irregular women by gender and employment type is just 38~39. Without any proactive improvement in employment types and employment structures, any gender related policies can be feasible. As countermeasures to irregular workers' issues, 'limited reasons of use' and 'dispatched labor' should be banned. In order to obtain the quality of employment, the government should work hard to change irregular workers to regular workers in the public sector, first. This can lead to the change in the private sector.

 

Yoo Seunghee: Our party has proposed and propelled the Fixed-term and Part-time Worker Protection Act, Dispatched Worker Protection and Indirect Employment Limit Act. Women have many discriminations by wage and gender in their lifetimes. Poverty rate of old people is three times higher compared to that of OECD countries. Poverty rate of the women elderly is higher amongst the elderly. We should also look at this issue carefully.

 

Choi Kwanggi: Let's listen to the story in the workplace. Kim Eunsook is here.

 

Kim Eunsook: Since 1999 when a trade union was set up in my company, I have worked as a unionist. When the trade union was established, the company usually told us that we are not workers but self-employed. At that time, we were able to establish the trade union based on the precedent of the Supreme Court, saying that we are workers on the ground of but the Trade Union Act not the Labor Standard Act. 88CC is a public corporate run by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affair. CEOs usually change whenever regimes change. Since the MB regime was set up, out of sudden, we have been suppressed strongly: our trade union has become viewed as illegal and we haven't as workers. In 2008, the total number of about 70 unionists were fired, and presently only about 60 persons have struggled very hard for 5 years.

 

Park Won-suk: The system of specially employed workers have been spreaded fast, centered by the service industry. The crucial thing is that they are actually workers who receive job inspections and job instructions from the company, but that they are viewed as self-employed. Shim Sang-jung, our presidential candidate proposed a law for ensuring specially-employed workers to have the three labor rights, including the fact that they are also workers in the Labor Relation Regulation Act. Additionally, regardless of any occupational types, the law should be reformed in order that people could be covered by industrial insurance. I believe social awareness is also important. Compared to large-size companies, our society isn't concerned for the weaker. In the process of solving irregular workers' issues in our society, not only legal reforms but also social awareness should be upgraded.

 

Shin Kyeong-A: Special employment is a crucial issue but is not socially raised as a hot issue. Specially employed workers should be covered by the industrial insurance. In addition, we should organize a consultation body rather than the existing Tripartite Commission, for fundamentally changing irregular workers related laws and for ensuring specially employed workers to join the structure to raise their issues.

 

Yoo Seunghee: What is important is that specially employed workers are not viewed as workers and that their legal status is not definite. Of great importance is giving them their clear legal statuses.

 

[Theme 3: Increase women's employment rate to the average OECD level]

 

Choi Kwanggi: What lowers women's employment rate is that women stop working due to their childbirth and childcare activities. This generates the term, career break. Women often get fired because they are pregnant or women call for maternity leave. One of our guest had such an experience.

 

Jung Eunhee: I had been a nurse working for the operation room at a hospital. Currently, I am on parental leave. From the stage of pregnancy I had difficulty. I told my team master that I would be gonna prepare for pregnancy. When I told him that I would not join operations using radiation, he looked askance at me, saying that I should fix my pregnancy term. I asked to be moved to another department after being pregnant, but it was not that smooth. When I told the hospital that I would continue receiving maternity leave and parental leave, the hospital kept avoiding me, saying that there was no precedent. At last, on the last day when I was on maternity leave, I had to write a confirmation that I would retire at my will after this unpaid parental leave.

 

Shin Kyeong-A: There are maternity protection systems in Korea, but what is important is how to realize them. It is important to improve the systems, but it is needed to make good use of the systems for 5 years in the future. Of importance is caring. We should provide free childcare. We are going to construct care infrastructure for taking care of infants up to early juveniles, not just until 5 year-old kids. If so, moms can work comfortably and relaxedly.

 

Park Won-suk: What is problematic is that the systems don't work well. Eventually it is a political matter. The biggest problem in women's economic participation rate is career break. 'Discrimination Prevention Act' should be regulated to ban retirement due to pregnancy, child-delivery and childcare and employment discrimination. Public childcaring should be expanded. In addition, care workers in the informal sector cannot be covered by the Labor Standard Act. Korea has not ratified the ILO Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers. At once these issues should be tackled.

 

Yoo Seunghee: If the presidential candidates from opposition parties are unified, I think political aims are similar. We believe the care service network for looking after children up to middle school students, should be developed and carried out well in practice. Of great importance is to select a president with such a will.

 

Choi Kwanggi: Even though low birth rate is very serious in our society, who will deliver more babies because none takes care of even one baby? I hope our society can be a happy society in which the baby of the previous guest can be looked after until they are 10 years old.

 

Questioner: I work at a large-size company that people often classify. However women workers in large companies are also in hard situation. Since 1995, industrial restructuring has been chasing us. Under the situation, women always became targets for dismissals. Therefore, women from the bottom to the top have problems. We should vote for the presidential candidate and National Assembly members who are able to fulfill such good policies that women can be treated well and look after children in comfortable conditions. I hope today's talks were not just pun. I hope you are all the hopes for women workers in difficulties.

 

Choi Kwanggi: I'd like to announce this political talk concert is over. After letting the three camps know what the questioner and our guests said, I feel our hope seems realized more. I hope we can do our best to realize our hopes through changes and reforms in 2012. I hope women workers can be hopes. Today, we asked a question why our society is unfair and unequal to ourselves. I believe all of us know the answer. Your choice in 2012 can make our society fair and equal. You are the protagonist of the year of 2012.

신고
Posted by KWWA

 

 

3rd National Care Workers' Rally

 

Members of National Cooperative of House Managers(NCHM) and activists of Women Workers' Associations took part in the 3rd National Care Workers' Rally on last October 20. At the rally, we shouted 'Right to be cared to everyone! Sustainable wages and labor rights to care workers!' Now, Why don't you look at the rally?

 

October 20, 2012 at 3pm

We are not on a picnic. However, we are as happy as floating on the cloud, like kids on picnic. Are you curious what we are doing? We are having late lunch. In any situation, eating comes first. Even for this rally, don't you think eating comes first?

 

We will eat a lot and then, shout a lot, so that people at the Jonggak can hear us, those in the Blue House can hear us, and even people at Yoeido can hear us. Since we are all involved in care industry, we can understand their livelihoods by looking into each other's eyes. We are waiting for the moment when the rally will start.

 

5 minutes before the care workers' rally. Every body gets ready. All of us wearing very bright pink vests are NCHM members and activists of Women Workers' Associations. When the MC announced the beginning of the rally, we of household workers, care workers, in-home nursing workers, workers for the disabled, childcare workers applauded and shouted a lot.

 

First of all, care workers are on stage. Joyful music is echoing around. We are changing the lyrics of 'Not everyone can love' (a Korean pop song) and singing along. After that, Lee Jo-soon makes a speech: “Although care workers are necessary human resources at hospital, hospital deny our direct employment. Even though we receive just 2,700 Won by hour, we work hard to help patients get recovered soon." She also let us know the poor working conditions of care workers, saying "We have poor working conditions. We don't have annual leave, monthly leave, and recesses. Some care workers are affected by inflected shots, and from time to time we are also affected by popular diseases amongst patients." She makes a resolution, saying "as women care workers, we will struggle firmly with the government and local governments, in order to gain the three labor rights."

 

Next, Kim Woo-yeon, childcare worker makes an address. "as a childcare worker, I have worked hard to teach and take care of children for 18 years, but my present wage is just 1.1 million Won without any bonus nor annual and monthly leaves. I have to rely on the small salary." She also said "Childcare workers are not human beings. We are robots. We are so busy taking care of children without any time to have comfortable lunch. Even if we are so sick that we had to go to hospital, we had to go back to work to take care of children, with our sick bodies. This is our reality. " She also deplored the situations of irregular workers, saying “When I started working as a childcare worker, my son was 8 years old. Now he is 24 years old, but even he is also a irregular worker." She had a firm resolution, saying "I will unite and struggle hard with my comrades." She sobbed but made a strong speech, which made us solemn.

 

Then, Nam-Yoon Insoon, a national assembly member and Kim Jong-chol, a vice president of the United Progressive Party went on the stage. Nam-Yoon Insoon said, "Long-term care workers are sometimes nationally recognized as domestic helpers," and then, she promised "I will tackle care workers' issues well." Kim Jong-chol also made a speech, emphasizing the importance of care jobs: "Care workers are very essential to take care of people."

 

After that, 'Momjit," a Korean students' marching group has a performance. Are you looking at the coalition of university students who are eager to support our struggle? Don't you think it won't be long for us to achieve our demands?

 

Next, Park Kyeongja, an worker for the disabled makes a speech. "We, workers for the disabled do our best in various ways to support and assist the independent lives of disabled people. In the process, our skeletal and muscular systems are often hurt. To boot, our overtime benefits are just 4,000 Won a day." She demanded "to pay us in accordance with the labor related laws not just paying 1,000 Won for night and holiday overtime." She also raised her voice, saying "We, workers for the disables are not goods that people can dispose when they are out of order. We are humans. Before we are very sick, prepare for effective measures to prevent diseases regarding our skeletal and muscular systems."

 

After that, Yeom Changsoon, a home care worker and the Seoul branch chairperson of the NCHM and Ullala Sisters, a dancing team composed of care workers of Kuro Self-sufficiency Promotion Centers went to the stage together.

 

Yeom Changsoon says "we had struggled for three years, for the reforming of the Labor Standard Act and for the social recognition as workers, but we are still not regarded as workers." She also deplores the current situation, saying "we have demanded urgent legal reforms regarding industrial accident and employment insurances, but we haven't gained any fruits yet." She shouts, saying "the government and National Assembly, reform the Labor Standard Act and ratify the ILO convention promptly." and also makes a resolution "although we are in poor conditions, but I will try to help your struggles to be meaningful and happy."

 

Ullala Sisters, a dancing team composed of care workers of Kuro Self-sufficiency Promotion Centers, put on their performance. They are dancing very passionately to the rhythm of a song sung by Boney M. Their performance is so incredibly beautiful that everyone is filled with admiration. We wonder how they are able to practice very hard like that even though they are all tied up. After that, as soon as the music of 'Gangnam Style' is played, audiences are standing up and dancing together. We are all united.

 

Representatives from our five care sectors are on stage. Each of them are holding a hand picket reading job insecurity, overwork, low wage, unfair treatment, and privatization of social service. They are breaking the pickets bravely and we are shouting with great joy. We hope our working conditions can be changed soon like the nicely broken pickets.

 

We rounded off our rally with representatives' reading a resolution on behalf of us.

Resolution of third Care Workers' Rally

Five years have passed since the social service system got introduced in earnest. However, care workers involved in social service sector still have poor working conditions. In conformity with an increasing social needs, the government has created social service jobs, but we, care workers in the social service sector have suffered from low pays, insecure employment, skeletal and muscular diseases, and various kinds of stresses. We have worked very hard for the 5 years, but the social service jobs are considered to be typical poor jobs because of low wages and poor working conditions.

 

Until now, women has been in charge of caring for family members at home in the Korean society. However, the structural and economic changes in the Korean society has emphasized the importance of socially caring people, and consequently, the care area was changed from the private and family sector to the social sector. As the necessity of social care increases, the value of care work should be recognized and appreciated.

 

The government has under-evaluated care work on the ground that anyone can do it, paying less than the minimum wage or just above that. Furthermore, in-home care workers cannot be regarded as workers because we work in the private sector. However, we, care workers would like to ask a question back. Do you think it is an unprofessional thing to take care of other families from at least 2 hours up to 24 hours a day? Family members had serious physical and psychological problems in taking care of other members, and it became a social issue. We, care workers are in charge of social care necessarily needed for people.

 

We, care workers consider the qualitative improvement of social services is directly connected to the improvement of our working conditions. We consider the improvement of our working conditions will begin with legal changes. Care workers' sustainable wages should be assured and our labor rights and job security should be protected without any discrimination.

 

Today, we, care workers participating in the 3rd Care Workers' Rally represent childcare workers, geriatric care specialists, care workers, workers for the disabled, household workers across the nation, to let you know care workers' social demands. We, the people providing all types of care from the cradle to that just before the grave, really hope to raise social awareness of the need for social care. We would like to shout the following demands, hoping we can have healthy and safe working conditions with high self-confidence:

 

* Consolidate the public and social responsibility for care services!
* Protect sustainable wages and labor rights of care workers!
* Recognize care workers as workers and apply the Industrial Accident Act to them!
* Reform Infant Care Act and help care workers to have two shift work a day!
* Ratify the ILO convention and apply the Labor Standard Act, Employment & Industrial Accident Act, equally to other workers!
* Reform Geriatric Long-term Care Insurance Act and enact the Care Worker Treatment Improvement Act!
* Provide sustainable wages for workers for the disabled and employ their assistants directly!

 

October 20, 2012

“Right to be cared to everyone! Sustainable wages and labor rights to care workers!”
shouted by participants in the 3rd Care Workers' Rally

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Posted by KWWA

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