2012.2.10 No.21


<The first year of ILO home care workers' agreement ratification campaign: 2012 marked as the first year of home care workers' protection>


「Korean Care Workers NGO Network waged home care workers' agreement ratification campaign -2010 marked as the first year for home care workers' protection, on December 19, 2011 at 11:30 am in front of Financial Building at the Chonggye Plaza. In celebration of international home care workers' day on December 18, this campaign planned to push for the ratification of ILO home care workers' agreement.

Presently, ILO home care workers' agreement was ready for the ratification in two countries, IDWN, ITUC, and IUF carried on an international campaign for ratification with groups of the persons concerned, NGOs, and trade unions. For this, Korea held the campaign today. more>>


                                <Hosting 2011's Photo Expo for Exchanging Hopes>


On the past November 16, about our 80 activists and members from our 11 branches nationwide took part in 2011's Photo Expo for Exchanging Hopes at our Hall of Education.

The events are composed of three sessions: the 1st session was to send ‘piggy bank of Hopes’ to Indian poor women; the 2nd session to present cases for action regarding social economy; and 3rd session to hold a market for Exchanging Hopes entitled ‘the Joy of Sharing, Happy Smile.’

Over a year, activists and members from our 11 branches collected ‘piggy bank of Hopes’ worth 3 million Won to support livestocks for poor Indian women. With the money 10 Indian women can have a cow of Hope, because a cow cost about 300,000 Won. On that day, Maria Rhie, a standing director of Korea Hope Foundation expressed her thanks to our members and staff persons who raised the fund. more>>


<Officially opening 'Ilonet,' a job community for part-timers and full-timers>


After we had dinner with the clinic doctor, other nurses and pharmaceutical company staff, and then, we went to a singing room. Whenever we went to a singing room, the clinic doctor asked me to dance with him. - -;; I told him I'd like to go back home, but he forced me not to go and serve drinks to him. This happened so many times. Please tell me how to manage this situation, without my becoming a wet carpet in this situation? - -;; (full-time worker, in the health and social welfare sector, in the service industry) (on August 18, 2011)

On October 19, 2011, 'Ilonet' a job online community was officially opened with the mobile page, where workers are able to counsel their job related problems and difficulties with professionals using their nicknames.

Last August 17, Korean Women Workers Association (KWWA) and Youth Union temporarily opened the 'Ilonet', and started their official services after some more supplementations. more>>


                                                  <Fathers need paternity leave!>


October 18, 2011, Women’s Action for Decent Lives and Jobs (WADLJ) hosted a press conference at the Hall of Discussion belonging to the National Assembly, in order to promote legal reforms regarding “infant-care paternity leave”. In Korea, the only way to encourage males to participate in childcare is to take paternity leave. However, last year, only 819 males used paternity leave since companies are not happy with it and paternity leave is poorly-paid.

Infant-care paternity leave aims at setting up another leave for males, aside from the present legal paid parental leave. Until babies are 1 year old, males can be allowed to take more than one month leave. The WADLJ suggested that the Employment Insurance should give up to 2 million Won for the leave. The legal reform shows too differences from the present one: the amount is much higher than the present maximum 1 million Won, and the system can be over-wrapped with women's maternity leave and parental leave. more>>

Posted by KWWA
제목 없음

                                                                                            2011.10.12  No.20


<Working environment improvement campaign to find a balance between work and family>


This is the picture of today. The female employment activity rate in South Korea is the lowest among OECD, and its graph is curved like a capital 'M', which cannot be seen in any other country but South Korea and Japan. The M-curve indicates  that female workers tend to quit when they have a baby to take care of and do not begin to work again until the child hass sufficiently grown. The rate of female regular workers from ages 30 to 34 amounted to 57.9% last August, while more than two thirds of the entire female workforce are in temporary positions. The 30 to 34 age group comprises of the biggest portion of women regular workers among all other age groups, though it is nowhere near 69.1%, the rate of male regular worker at the same age. However, when women reach their forties,  the rate falls sharply to 33.8%. This is thought to be because they try once more  to look for employment,, but this time as a non-regular worker. more>>


<"Raise the minimum wage from 4,320 won to 5,410 won." -- the Minimum Wage Raising Campaign by KWWA>


Laborers, whose wage is always the lowest bidding price,

Young workers, barely making ends meet by working part time,

Service workers in convenience stores, gas stations and so on, whose hourly wage is determined by the minimum wage,

The workers under a subcontract, whose wage is under the minimum wage.

The 450 million low-paid workers who are suffering from the preposterous minimum wage all over the country.

One would hardly be able to have a proper meal with the current hourly minimum wage, which is only one third of the average wage. As a result, South Korea is dishonored to be the first nation among the OECD in terms of the rate of low-paid workers and inequality in wages. It has turned out that 196 million workers are paid even less than the minimum wage last August; furthermore, 61.5% of them are female and only 5.7% are regular workers. Therefore, we can argue that the minimum wage issue directly related to the matter of temporary workers and women workers.more>>


<"Celebrating the adoption of the Domestic Workers Protection Agreement from the 100th ILO general meeting" – the need for the South Korean government to ratify>


“The Domestic Workers Protection Agreement,” which was considered as the last important issue of the international labor community, was passed by a majority at the 100th International Labor Organization general meeting on the 16th of June, with 396 votes in favor, 63 in abstention, and only 16 against.

We at the Solidarity for Care Workers' Legal Protection are very glad to hear that the domestic workers protection agreement was taken up by the international community and especially that the South Korean government is for the agreement, taking seriously the 300,000 domestic workers' demand. Now is the time for the South Korean government to ratify.

The 300,000 domestic workers have yearned for equal treatment as  respectable workers as well as basic benefits such as occupational health and safety insurance. They have been shunned from every kind of legal protection and social acknowledgement due to the prejudice that their labor is merely domestic and relevant only to women. Accordingly, domestic workers and civil labor organizations have been taking action for the amendment of the domestic law and ILO agreement since 2010.more>>


    <The Forum: “The Balance Between Work & Life, the Justifiable Right of People”>


The forum, “The Balance Between Work & Life, the Justifiable Right of People,” was held by KWWA, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the revision of the Maternity Protection Act, on the 29th of June at Seoul Women's Plaza. There has been a need for a solution to the fact that it was bound to females and has generated other problems like the increase of caring responsibility.

At the very beginning, the first speaker Kim Yeongok pointed out that a policy for a balance between work and life bound only to women has caused gender discrimination of labor and has strengthened the division of labor by gender. According to her, the solution is to map out a sustainable, long term plan, not bread and circuses policies. Her other claim was that in order to dissolve the divided labor structure by gender, we should consider the problem of child-care. She also suggested that commercialization of labor and an escape of caring responsibility from the family are required for women, and the exact opposite for men. She underlined the importance of a community-based economic activity and the imaginative power for it. Lastly, she added that we need a new working environment, a new a new standard for the quality of life, and a new way of living to fix the chronic problem of dehumanization at work.more>>



Posted by KWWA
제목 없음

                                                                                            2011.1.26  No.18


<A Proclamation of 591 Social Leaders Urging the Samsung Electronics to Take the Responsibility of Laborers’ Occupational Disease>



“No More Victims in the Samsung Electronics”

In 2003, Yoo-Mee Hwang, a third-year student at Sokcho High School, was employed just before her graduation at the Samsung Electronics Semiconductor Plant in Giheung. She participated in the defusion process dipping wafer - a thin slice of semiconductor material - into compounds such as hydrogen peroxide and ammonium sulfide. Ji-Youn Park was also employed at Samsung Semiconductor Plant in Onyang. Unable to proceed with her study in college, she had no choice but to start working prior to high school graduation. This eighteen-year-old girl worked in the examination process handling lead solvent and other chemicals. Their pride of working in a leading corporation in South Korea withered away very soon. Both of these young girls got Acute Myeloid Leukemia after two years of work in the corporation and passed away in 2007 and 2010.


While South Koreas gross national income per capita exceeded 20,000 U.S. dollars in 2007, adolescents from poor families are still under pressure of getting a job soon after mid-school or high-school graduation. Shoe and clothing industries in 1970s have changed into high-tech clean industries such as semiconductor and LCD, but laborers are still in danger of death from hundreds of toxic chemicals used in IT products.


Several years have passed since the laborers working at the Samsung Electronics Semiconductor Plants in Giheung and Onyang became victims of Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Nothing has been done, however, for their industrial injury treatment and compensation. The danger of working in these high-tech industries has increasingly been revealed after the continuing social exposure of the deaths of the Samsung Electronics laborers. According to the Supporters of Health and Rights of People in Semiconductor Industry (SHARPS), over 100 laborers got lethal disease including leukemia, lymphoma, and brain tumor and 31 have already passed away. Although a further systematic examination is needed for confirming the causes of these deaths, this approximate number of victims in a single corporation is already an alarming signal to the society.


Afraid of harming its image, Samsung has denied its responsibility and rejected to provide injury compensation for its laborers. The governmental branches under charge of industrial safety and accidents such as the Ministry of Employment and Labor, the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency, and the Korean Workers Compensation and Welfare Service are putting emphasis on industrial security over laborers rights. As the Samsung Electronics and the South Korean government shirk their responsibilities and as our society disregard the people who actually make the fascinating smart phone and maintain high speed internet, the laborers who devoted their lives to the Samsung Electronics are taking occupational disease and passing away without proper treatment.  more>>



Posted by KWWA
제목 없음

                                                                                            2010.7.30  No.17


<“Please, address me as a house manager not auntie” - Simultaneous campaigns across the country for improving the social cognition of housekeeping service workers>


They are housekeeping service workers taking care of housework and caring which were considered as unpaid work in the family. As a vacuum in housekeeping and caring at home has been made because of increasing economic activities of women, the rapid aging of our society, change of the family types, and so on, they fill up the vacuum. There are 160,000 housekeeping service workers as of 2007 according to the Economically Active Population Survey of the National Statistical Office. However, their actual number is probably much more than 160,000 if we consider the number of housekeeping and caring service workers in the informal sector which does not show up in statistics.
.  more>>


<Revival of the economy of ordinary people should start from
a raise of the minimum wage.


Women workers spoke out loudly in front of the National Assembly at Yeouido on June 9 in spite of hot weather. A campaign of women’s labor groups was organized to gain the minimum hourly wage of 5,180 won for the year 2010. The Win-Win Women’s Action hosted the campaign and about 100 women workers from Seoul, Incheon, Daejeon, and Daegu gathered with only a wish of the raise of the minimum wage.

The campaign began with an opening speech of Ms. NamYoon Insoon, KWAU standing representative. Participants sang a song of the minimum wage with modified lyrics of “twist of love” from time to time during the campaign. Ms. Kwak Jeongsuk, a member of the National Assembly, gave a solidarity speech and said, “At least one member of the committee on the minimum wage should be a minimum wage worker so that the committee will be able to understand minimum wage workers.


<Campaign “Project for Happiness of Working Moms” on the occasion of Equal Employment Week in April>


The KWWA and its 11 branches organized a campaign “Project for Happiness of Working Moms” on the occasion of Equal Employment Week in April. Every region had a meaningful time to publicize an interrupted career problem due to triple burdens of pregnancy, childbirth, and childcare with topics of ‘work and care together’ and ‘for the society enabling us to achieve a balance between work and family,’ and to think its alternatives. Particularly, this campaign was conducted with unified contents as the KWWA had made promotion materials such as a parody of the soap opera “Chasing runaway slaves” and a UCC video clip and distributed them to regions. more>>


                                                  <Change by Participation>


The 1st Women Labor Forum: what will we do regarding local and educational autonomy?

The Korean Women's Trade Union (KWTU) and the KWWA organized the 1st Women’s Labor Forum in the basement education room at 2:00 pm on April 16 in order to discuss our responses to local and educational autonomy in relation with the June nationwide local election.

The forum had two topics: ‘the understanding of local autonomy and regional policy’ by Mr. Ha Seungsu, a steering committee member of “Ieum” (a grassroots autonomy institute) and ‘the project making an education city where children are happy’ by Mr. An Seungmun, an executive committee co-chairperson of the Education Network for Hope. It discussed ‘a role of women workers in the era of local and educational autonomy.’ more>>


<The 26th Korean Women’s Convention under the theme of “make our hope real with women’s participation” in commemoration of the International Women’s Day!>


The convention was held under the theme of “make our hope real with women’s participation” in the auditorium of Ewha Womans University on March 6.

It urged women’s participation and the need of the society’s constant concern and support for ‘a gender equality community with a woman’s vote,’ ‘a society where people work and care together,’ and ‘a society without poverty and violence.’

The ‘Colorful Free Market’ was held before the convention in front of the auditorium. Participating organizations prepared various booths to publicize their agenda, to increase membership, and to fund raise by selling products of self-support communities.

The convention started at 2:00 pm with about 1,000 participants. It was presided over by Actor Kwon Haeyo, public relations ambassador for the Korean Women’s Association United (KWAU), and Ms. Choe Gwanggi, professional master of ceremonies. An opening speech was given by Ms. NamYoon Insoon, KWAU standing representative, and Ms. Park Youngmi, KWAU co-representative. They said, “Let us make a beautiful solidarity by overcoming sarcasm and division, and understanding and embracing each other’s differences with open minds. Let us make our hope real with our participation. We wish to meet you where hope is formed and reality is changed.”  >>more


<“Unstable Jobs” – Press Conference of the Win-Win Women’s Action in commemoration of the International Women’s Day 2010>


The press conference was held by “the Win-Win Women’s Action to save the people’s livelihood and jobs” in front of the National Assembly at Yeouido at 11:00 on March 3 in commemoration of the International Women’s Day. It urged the job security of women with the topic of “unstable jobs”.

Recently the South Korean government brought forward various measures to encourage childbirth such as a so-called ‘purple job’ (a part-time job) aimed at enabling women workers to achieve a balance between work and family. (Note: The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family explains the color purple combines red, a feminine color, and blue, a masculine color, and thus symbolizes gender equality and harmony between work and family.) The government does not pay attention to the reality that a large number of women have fallen into unemployment and poverty, but considers the low birthrate problem as the most serious matter and approaches employment policy geared to promoting childbirth. About 70% of women workers are irregular worker and most of them work for a minimum wage. Maternity leave and childcare leave for them is all just pie in the sky. Therefore it is doubtful they can live on the purple job. >>more



Posted by KWWA

                                                                                            2009.12.31  No.16


<A press conference to call for job countermeasures for women from vulnerable classes driven out onto the verge of unemployment >


On December 10, 2009, A ‘press conference to oppose the decrease in budget for social service jobs and call for job countermeasures for women from vulnerable classes’ was hosted by the Korean Care workers NGO Network (composed of by KWWA, People's Solidarity Against Unemployment, Woman Resources Development Centers, Korean Association of Self Sufficiency Promotion, and YMCA Korea).

The Ministry of Labor handed in a budget bill for 2010 which shows large reduction in its supports to social public jobs to 148.7 billion won, by 21.1% compared to those for 2009. Owing to such a reduction plan, the existing social public job projects were mostly excluded and eliminated in the process of the examination and re-examination of social public job projects which have been undertaken since December. As a result, the actual 2 year projects to support social enterprises are left out or have to largely reduce their necessary personnel just around the point of 1 year fulfillment of these projects.  more>>


<Women’s jobs-and-childcare budgets for 2010 should be like this!!>


On the past November 27, We at Women’s Action for Decent Lives and Jobs (WADLJ) hosted a forum entitled ‘Women’s jobs-and-childcare budgets for 2010 should be like this’ in the Hall of Congressmen.

The National Assembly has currently carried out examination on budgets by sector. This forum was held in the Hall of Congressmen with the help from the office of Rep. Kim Sang-hee of the Democratic Party, in order to let National Assembly members to know our opinions directly.

In the greetings, Kim Sang-hee, a National Assembly member mentioned the forum was meaningful because it is held in a right time when political parties were arguing about budgeting, especially related to people.  She emphasized the need for uniting women’s circle and people to fight with the government’s anti-people and anti-women policies. more>>


<Women workers, meet social economy based on reciprocity and solidarity>


On the past November 18, we at the KWWA held a workshop entitled ‘Women workers, meet social economy based on reciprocity and solidarity’ in its underground training center.


Through her presentation, Lim Youn Ok introduced our social public job projects and social economic activities that we at the KWWA have practiced to tackle women’s unemployment and poverty issues increasing under the strong wind of neo-liberalism for 10 years from the Korean economic crisis in 1989 up to the current economic crisis. Our social economic activities include social enterprises, community coin movement, and credit union activities. The social economy is generally defined as ‘social economic activities carried out not by companies or nations but by the 3rd sector such as nongovernmental organizations or foundations to realize the social purpose for benefiting communities’. more>>


                      <Debate forum with Dr. Christine Bergmann,
                                former Minister of Women,  Germany


On the past November 18, the KWWA invited Dr. Christine Bergmann, former Minister of Women of Germany and held a debate forum with her on the theme of Neo-liberalism and women’s policies, focusing on measures on women irregular workers between Korea and Germany. The forum was begun with the keynote presentation by Dr. Christine Bergmann who visited Korea to share German experiences and to grasp situations of Korean women workers. She started her address saying “I am surprised that many young women join this meeting together.” Dr. Bergmann from the former East Germany was a former Minister of Family, Elderly, Women and Youth when a progressive government under Prime Minister Schroeder came into power in Germany, and currently has been working as a director of The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

Dr. Bergmann said “ Germany and  Korea did not reach the state of ‘paradise’ in relation to women’s work.” She described as ‘paradise,’ an ideal state in which women and men both can work and live happily. It is women who make up most irregular workers in Korea and take ‘insecure jobs’ in  Germany. both. In the case of Germany, women had a hard time due to their low wages and long working hours like us in  Korea. In the former  East Germany. women’s employment rate reached up to 90% before the unification, which shows women’s active role as major income earners.


After the unification with  West Germany in which males are considered as major bread winners, there has been no change in the male employment rate, but there have been a lot of differences in women’s cases: That was due to the job distribution between women not the job distribution between men and women. more>>


<A press conference by women’s society to support the struggles of the two umbrella trade unions: oppose a ban on paying full-time unionists and unified negotiation window of multiple unions!>


Date and venue: at 10:30amon November 12, 2009, in front of the tent strike placed in front of the National Assembly.

The government and the ruling party announced the immediate enforcement of the Trade Union Act and the Labor Relation Mediation Act which prohibit full time unionists from being paid and the unified negotiation window in case of the introduction of multiple workshop-based trade union system.


In last April, the ILO recommended to solve the issues related to wages of fulltime unionists through the autonomous and voluntary agreement between workers and users. Nevertheless, the government spread the distorted truth that ‘there is no country where companies pay full time unionists’ in order to ‘terminate the Korean labor movement.’more>>


Posted by KWWA

                                                                                    2009.12.2  No.15


<Emptying and recharging for tomorrow: leadership enhancement training for middle-ranking activists>


We at the KWWA provided leadership enhancement training for middle-ranking activists entitled ‘Emptying and recharging for tomorrow’ for 3 days between October 29 and 31, 2009 at the Jirisan  Mountain.

Approximately 20 full-time activists who have been working over 2 years had a good chance to reckon on our structure and take a rest for better tomorrow on the title of good rest and introspection.

Above all, we had good talks about life, peace and living in the community with Monk Dobup from the Silsangsa Temple.  There is its thread of connections with our vision, ‘equality, peace~’, helping us to think over and find solutions. more>>


<Press conference to demand to enact rice aid to North Korea>


On October 22, 2009, women’s and environmental groups including KWWA, KWAU, Women Corea, and Korea Federation for Environmental Movement held a press conference to demand the government to “enact rice aid for North Korea in order to tackle the decreasing rice price,” in front of the Ministry of Unification.

Women farmers shaved their heads to demand the government to guarantee the price of rice and also went on a sit-in strike in front of the National Assembly. A woman farmer pleaded for supports to Korean farmers, saying “Many people ignored us when we tried to distribute our leaflets.  People think it is only Korean farmers’ matter, but at last it will be all ours.”

Women’s organizations and environmental groups demanded the government to ensure constant rice farming to Korean farmers, since rice related issues are matters on our sovereignty and all of our matters. They pointed out the needs to resume rice aids to North Korea and further, the prompt enactment of the aids. more>>


<National womens day of action for decreasing the budget on 4 major river restoration and increasing livelihood-and-welfare related budgets>


On past October 17, we gathered for ‘National women’s day of action for decreasing the budget for 4 major river restoration and increasing livelihood-and-welfare related budgets’ in Seoul.

We, full-time workers and members from women’s organizations in the Seoul Metropolitan area got together and publicized our demands on decreasing the budget on 4 major river restoration and increasing budgets on public livelihoods and welfares, dressed up cutely with various tools including hand pickets.

We started the rally, tapping djembe, African drums and shouting ‘Stop deducing taxes of the rich’ and ‘Stop the 4 major river restoration project.’  Although our tapping was not so excellent, our rhythmic sounds from the djembe made us joyous.

The opening speech made by Jeong Moon-Ja, chairperson of KWWA was followed by the comments entitled “Women have talks about budgets for 2010.” A reserve teacher who is employed as a temporary teacher denounced governmental policies and budget on women’s jobs: she complained about poor working conditions of temporary administrative workers working at schools because schools do not give proper tasks and positions to them; and she also revealed the sad reality that the government has continued to employ only temporary (4 month-fixed) teachers instead of regular teachers although the number of regular teachers is in great shortage. In addition, a university student let us know her agonies caused by her high university tuition fees and unemployment rates among the young. President of the Pucheon branch of the NCHM also insisted on the application of 4 social insurances so as to provide job security for care workers. more>>


                      <Forum: Increasing care jobs, but hidden sexual harassment >


On October 13, 2009, a forum entitled ‘Increasing care jobs, but hidden sexual harassment’ was hosted. There are increasing social demands on care jobs, and also women are concentrated in this sector.  The KWWA did research on sexual harassment against care workers as a mean of encouraging care workers to obtain their rights to work. We at the KWWA shared pains and difficulties of sexual harassment victims in practice and urged the government to prepare for sexual harassment prevention polices and legal solutions through the forum.

The presentation on sexual harassment against care workers was followed by discussion by a researcher, women workers in the workplaces, and officers from the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs, and after that, very active and dynamic discussions were carried out amongst the audience.  A variety of good ideas came out to share tough situations of care workers and to prevent and regulate practical measures on sexual harassment. The forum was assessed as a good chance to share seriousness of sexual harassment against care workers and to discuss active solutions by many local care work-related groups. more>>


Posted by KWWA

                                                                                            2009.11.13  No.14


<Skyrocketing commodity prices and decreasing welfare budgets

make us sad!!>


On September 30, 2009, right around the corner of the Choosuk holiday, Womens Action for Decent Lives and Jobs (WADLJ) held 'a women's press conference to demand to increase welfare budget for 2010' in front of the Seoul KTX Station.

In spite of the difficult situation in which commodity prices have been rising rapidly and people's daily lives have become harder, a national holiday, Choosuk is around the corner in this year.  Recently, the press has reported that  Korea is one of the leading groups that overcome the economic crisis and that we have to seek for exits to leap forward. more>>


<Dont be discouraged because you have struggled for one year. 
We have struggled for 25 years.


On September 24, 2009, it became a year after 88CC golf caddies started their strike. In front of the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affair, golf caddies got together, showing We want to work, and women and/or labor activists joined them. The press conference and the struggle resolution rally, organized by Womens Action for Decent Lives and Jobs (WADLJ) on that day, were to withdraw unfair dismissals of the golf caddies and to demand on their prompt reinstatement.

88 Country Club (88CC), a company entrusted by the Ministry has continued its unfair labor practices suppressing legal golf caddies
trade union since past June, 2008. In September, 2008, the company dismissed a union member and decided the unlimited job suspensions of 53 unionists. Moreover, the company has dismissed 58 women workers including 3 union executives and decided the unlimited job suspensions of two union members even in 2009. During the past fall, winter, spring, summer, and this fall again, the golf caddies have continued their struggles for their rights to survive so far at the 88CC, in front of the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affair, in streets, in the court, and at the labor offices. However, the company and the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affair still turn their deaf ears to the women workers. more>>


<To overcome pains in the era, and overcome the tragedy of the history>


On past September 21, 2009, the KWWA and Martyr Kim Kyeongsook Commemoration Society in cooperation prepared for the 30th special memorial events for commemorating the Martyr Kim Kyeongsook.  The events included a symposium, screening a film in commemoration, simple refreshment to share food of the 1970s, and memorial service, in the order named.

Kang In-soon, a professor in the Sociology department of the Kyeongnam University had a key presentation entitled women workers of the 1970s and the Korean democratic labor movement.  She made a presentation about the necessity for re-assessing the labor movement in the 1970s led by women workers working in the light industry, insisting today irregular employment is very widely spread, and women workers are the majority of irregular workers in  Korea. To take this into consideration, women workers should be the main pillar of the democratic labor movement.more>>


                      <30th Memorial Service for Martyr Kim Kyeongsook >


On past August 11, 30th memorial service for Martyr Kim Kyeongsook was held. In the rainy day, we at the KWWA had the solemn memorial service with YH Association, 70s' Democratic Workers' Association, and activists living in the Seoul metropolitan area.


The YH incident (the death of Martyr Kim Kyeongsook) was both major labor incidents with the death of Martyr Cheon Tae-il in the 1970s in Korea. This incident led loss of the seat of the opposition partys head in the National assembly and then, a democratic movement by the citizens of Pusan and Masan areas, which sparked the termination of the Yushin dictatorial regime.


On September 21, 2009, in celebration of her 30th anniversary, YH Association and KWWA jointly prepared for special events. They included a documentary film for commemorating the Martyr Kim Kyeongsook, which had been prepared for 1 year, a symposium and other memorial services. more>>


<Dont let them die any more. Theyre also humans! >


On an extremely sunny day, July 24, 2009, in front of the National Police Agency, the Womens Action for Decent Lives and Jobs (WADLJ) held a press conference to tackle the issue peacefully and through communication, after hearing the news that public power will be imminently exercised at the Ssangyong Motor. However, the police surrounded WADLJ activists very tightly and demanded them to hold a press conference in front of the Records Department, instead.  In response, mothers from the Minkahyup were so furious because they have held press conferences in front of the main gate so far. We at the WADLJ raised questions why we have to hold a press conference in front of but Records Department not the main gate: and the police attempted to undermine the importance of the issues of Ssangyong Motors workers. We had serious argument with the police and finally, we had negotiation with the police and finally held the press conference at the spot in the middle. more>>


Unity, coexistence, and leaping forward!! Powerful executives get together here overnight! 2009s membership training for integrated executives


Between past July 18 and 19, membership training for integrated executives were held at Seosan, on the title of unity, coexistence, and leaping forward!! Powerful executives get together here overnight!' Up to 160 staff persons from 11 branches and KWWAs annexed organizations took part in the membership training! You can for sure imagine that their actions and passions can high enough to change their communities and consolidate and strengthen the structures of KWWA.


The membership training was carried out at the beach for the first time in the herstory of 20 years of the KWWA, in order to overcome barriers of regions and fields and to reinforce our solidarity amongst KWWAs executives through far better communication and unity.more>>


Posted by KWWA

                                                                                            2009.8.25  No.13


<The government and the Grand National Party should listen to cries of irregular workers>


On June 25, 2009, in front of the government building at the Kwangwhamoon, Women’s Action for Decent Lives and Jobs (WADLJ) held a press conference to emphasize that the government and the Grand National Party, the ruling party should stop the 3 year deferment of the Temporary Employee Protection Act which they have proposed, because it pushes irregular workers into far deeper abyss of despair. Currently, the Grand National Party claims that the 3 year deferment of the Temporary Employee Protection Act should be an alternative for dismissed irregular workers, but that is against all reason.  Rather, the public sector which should have taken the lead in the regularization of irregular workers, has attempted to dismiss irregular workers. The government is like a parent who discards a malformed newborn baby. more>>


<You cut down the minimum wage? Get blood out of a stone!>


On June 25, 2009, a rally was held all day long in front of the Minimum Wage Committee although it was really hot.  Most participants are middle aged women.  It was the final official day to decide the minimum wage for the next year.

From 5 o’clock, the KWTU organized ‘a rally of women subcontracted workers to win 1,070,000 won minimum wage,’ which WADLJ sponsored. About 300 unionists working at outsourcing companies participated in the rally, starting the rally singing a changed popular song.

In her address, Park Namhee, president of KWTU blamed the management for its persistent insistence of the reduction by 4% and suggested to change the conservative policy stance of the current government by continuing the minimum wage struggle to local elections which will be held next year. Lee Kang-sil, a chairperson of Women Corea who gave a solidarity address criticized the policy stance of the current government briskly and strongly, after mentioning the current labor matters including the minimum wage and the Temporary Employee Protection Act. more>>


<Public authorities at the head in dismissing irregular workers>


On July 14, 2009, 'Women’s Action for Decent Lives and Jobs’ (WADLJ) hosted ‘a rally for denouncement of the dismissals of irregular workers working at public institutes and the demand to regularize irregular workers.  In this rally, about 100 people gathered together, who are activists belonging to WADLJ, KBS fix-term workers who had been dismissed owing to the expiration of their contracts, those working at veterans hospitals, Korea Workers Accident Medical Corporation (K-medi), and contracted women workers whose work will be decided to be outsourced by KBS.

In the declaration, WADLJ denounced the government and the Grand National Party, saying “the Ministry of Labor that should have supported the upgrading of irregular workers at private companies and been concerned for the measures, and rather, it has made tacit approval of the ‘planned dismissals’ of irregular workers at public institutes, and public institutes are at the head in dismissing irregular workers. The government and the Grand National Party insisted in the deferment of the application of the Temporary Employee Protection Act, but there have been no incidents of dismissing 1,000,000 irregular workers that the government expected although more than 2 year and 10 days has been passed by since the act was effective.” more>>


                                                     5th Labor Forum:

      iscussing the law-making regarding specially hired workers’ issues


The death of Park Jong-tae belonging to the Korean Transportation Workers’ Trade Union played a crucial role in drawing attention to specially hired workers’ issues again that had subsided. The current government has not taken any alternative measures for specially hired workers.  What is worse, the current government has driven specially hired workers into a tight corner when we look at the government’s policy that it does not recognize 88CC union belonging to the KWTU and dismissed union members.  Presently, specially hired workers were ranked third after fixed-term workers and part-timers, and women constituted a higher ratio: specially hired women workers accounted for 5.9% and men 2.2% of all the workers (2008, Korea Labor & Society Institute). This shows women should not ignore issues of specially hired workers.

In this labor forum, to draw more attention to issues of specially hired employment, proposals made by the Democratic Party and the Democratic Labor Party were looked at carefully.

According to the proposal made by the Democratic Party (especially by Kim Sanghee),  written contracts, payment, and annual leaves which are the core of the Labor Standard Law are recognized and the trade union act should be applied for. The proposal made by the Democratic Labor Party (especially by Hong Heeduck) expands the concepts of workers and users in the Labor Standard Law and Trade Union Act.  Presently, the two proposals concerning specially hired employment are pending in the Labor Environment Committee of the National Assembly.  The KWWA and KWTU have decided to search for the ways to address the matters of specially hired employment through other discussions.


Posted by KWWA

                                                                                            2009.7.7  No.12


<"Worthy happiness of US$1 " – Let’s raise the minimum wage at the rate of 1,000 won an hour!>


On May 21, 2009, “Win-win Women’s Action to save common people and save jobs” (consisting of KWWA, KWTU, FKTU, Korean Womenlink, and KWAU) organized a campaign, “Worthy happiness of US$1”: Let’s raise the minimum wage by the rate of 1,000 won (=equal to US$1) an hour.

  This campaign was started with the minimum wage songs whose words were changed from labor songs, followed by the opening address done by Kim Insook, the co-chairperson of Korean Womenlink and speeches by KWTU’s rank and file members. more>>


<Launching “Win-Win Women’s Action to save common people
and save jobs”>


On June 15, 2009 nationwide women who worry about their jobs, education and prices of commodities, launched “Win-Win Women’s Action to save common people and save jobs” (Win-Win Women’s Action) ‘to create society without the three worries about the above.’ Not only the total number of 49 women and labor
organizations (as of June 15, 2009) but also almost all
KWWA’s regional organization activists also joined the inauguration.

Opening address was made by Nam-Yoon Insoon, standing chairperson of KWTU, like “We don’t need any more deaths. We are here to live and to give a life to those going to starve relatively” and followed by speeches by the persons involved including a woman in her 20s who suffers from her university tuition fee, parents squeezed dry due to education issues of their children, a woman single parent who are worrying about her monthly rent, struggling 88CC women workers, and dismissed women workers in struggles against the national highway. Whenever the people involved made addresses, the audience cheered them up giving warm supports.


<Filing a cancelation suit against ‘the government’s decision of grant suspension’>


In 2008, KWWA was selected to carry out long-term project (three year project titled ‘women workers’ newly written human rights’ by the government. However, in 2009 the Ministry of Public Administration and Security in charge stopped its grant, accusing the KWWA of a NGO which joined the national mad cow disease countermeasure committee.  
In response, on June 17, 2009 the KWWA filed acancelation suit ‘against the decision of grant suspension’. There are crucial loopholes in the procedure.

Joah Se-joon belonging to the Minbyun-Lawyers for a Democratic Society highlighted the purpose of the claim as follows: “There is no regulation on the grant suspension, and the KWWA’s case is not affected by the reasons for the cancellation of grant due to the changes in the conditions manifested in the Article 21. In addition, the ministry does not take the legal procedures of the contents of the decision, legal ground and hearing in the case of the ‘right-limiting decision’ in accordance with Articles 21 and 22.” Furthermore, the government’s decision violates the basic rights guaranteed by the constitution. more>>


<What are alternatives to disappearing 98% of women’s jobs? >


On June 15th 2009 when “Win-Win Women’s Action to save common people and save jobs” was launched, the KWWA hosted a forum entitled ‘What are alternatives to disappearing 98% of women’s jobs to?’. In the current economic crisis, women’s jobs are in great jeopardy. The analysis and countermeasures were addressed seriously.

Dr. Yoon Ja-young (belonging to Korea Labor Institute) made a presentation on the situation of women’s unemployment and countermeasures. While the number of males finding a job between November 2008 and May 2009 was declined by 18,000 persons compared to the previous year, she highlighted 762,000 women were decreased, which means women accounted for 98% out of the total number of people whose jobs disappeared. Particularly, there are significant decreases in the number of women in their 20s and 30s whose jobs disappeared by age and those with educational levels lower than high school graduates. Moreover, there were also crucial declines in the number of jobs provided at the very small companies like those employing 1~4 peoples. In terms of types of employment, since there were the most significant decreases in jobs for temporary and day workers and self-employers, women in the very vulnerable classes were seen as being targeted. more>>


Posted by KWWA

                                                                                            2009.6.4  No.11


<Another attempt to react to the current economic crisis: holding 1st workshop on searching for social economic activation strategies based on reciprocity and solidarity>


On April 21, 2009, the KWWA hosted the 1st workshop on searching for social economic activation strategies based on reciprocity and solidarity. The workshop was to check our social economic activities by section, including social jobs, social enterprises, National Cooperative of House Managers (NCHM), community coin activities, and to search for future directions of our social economy.

The first topic for discussion was ‘the labor movement and green community economy’, which was presented by Park Seung-ok, ex-chairperson of the Citizen Power. As soon as his lecture started, he made aware of the importance of saving energy, asking us to turn the light at the back of the lecture room. The speaker stressed that we have limited usable energy, because energy is generated mostly by atomic power and fossil fuel such as atomic power, petroleum, coal, and gas. Especially, in a near future, petroleum will be exhausted; and even though alternative energy is developed, it is not sustainable because it is generated from the nature.more>>


<What are women’s labor models: hosting 2nd policy workshop on searching for women’s employment welfare strategies>


The 2nd policy workshop on searching for women’s employment welfare strategies was held to overcome the current economic crisis. On the theme “What are women’s labor models” the first presentation was made by Dr. Eun Soo-mi, and in the second presentation the necessity for job creation in the care service such as childcare, education and care assistance and nursing was addressed to seek for alternatives of women’s jobs.

Above all, Dr. Eun Soo-mi pointed out the repeated crisis of women’s labor whenever economic crisis occurs, and particularly, she stressed it would be a more serious problem that women’s labor is not seen, although it exists because the recent women workers seem to be unheard. She made two suggestions to tackle the problem: firstly, women’s labor issues should be treated as social discourses but through ‘exposing women’s issues in the market’ not through any shock treatment such as accidents or incidents. For example, women’s social indexes should be published every year, and women’s employment related large-scale symposiums should be held; and secondly, the solidarity for organizing women should be considered.more>>


<In the economic crisis, whose jobs have been decreased: hosting the 3rd policy workshop on searching for women’s employment welfare strategies>


On May 14, 2009, the 3rd policy workshop on searching for women’s employment welfare strategies was held. On the theme of the current economic crisis and situation and task of women’s unemployment, Dr. Yoon Ja-young (belonging to Korea Labor Institute) made the first presentation, and Dr. Kim Kyung-hee (belonging to Korean Women’s Development Institute) gave a lecture on the title of ‘needs of the application of gender effect evaluation and policy cases.’

The first presentation looked at the situation of women’s unemployment through the current statistics: whose jobs have been decreasing, and what classes and social groups have been affected the most in the current economic crisis since September 2008. As a result of the analysis, the decreases in employment are serious especially for women, those in their 30s, self-employers and temporary or day workers, those working in the manufacturing sector and whole and retail industries, and workers in the very small-size establishments, and it was recommended to urgently prepare for unemployment safety net measures and job countermeasures.more>>


Posted by KWWA