Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Expansion of Irregular Work

This posting should have been up a week ago so please excuse the tardiness, but I was waiting for some new info. Let's start with a recent call from the KCTU for international solidarity with their efforts to defeat the upcoming bill on expanding the use of irregular workers -- find it here. The KCTU is calling for introduction of alternative legislation that will protect the three basic labor rights included in the constitution to cover irregular workers. The 3 rights are the right to organize, to negotiate, and to take collective action. In order to push forward with these demands, the KCTU coordinated General Strikes on November 6, 2004 and on April 1, 2004. Here's a few stories from the Korean press and others on these events (1., 2., 3., 4.). [update] There is also a story in the Herald today [April 15] on how safeguards for non-regular workers have, to date, been largely ineffective (click here). Therefore, one wonders if the government's new policy will only further extend exploitive practices.

Migrant workers, who also have a precarious situation similar to irregular workers, have also been in the news recently, it seems that there is some progress, at least, being made in terms of health care access (see here). I've also included this short op-ed from the left-ish daily the Hankyoreh (if only my Korean were better I'd subscribe). It basically sums up the main tension between national sovereignty and civil rights. The former always seems to trump the later, and until there is more protection and an honest assessment of how South Korea hopes to deal with migrant workers in the long run, conflicts as described here are bound to continue.

More later...

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