The Korea Railroad Corporation(Korail) has made a decision that it will maintain 85% of about 10,000 subcontracted workers without any improvement who are currently working in the form of indirect employment in its plan for the indirect employment conversion to regular jobs, a source revealed. The plan tells that Korail interpreted the least of the government guideline to convert the irregular jobs to the regular ones in the public sector, only focusing on the irregular workers of private subcontractors in the life and safety fields at its discretion. Korail has the largest number of irregular workers among the public institutions.
The Korean Railway Workers' Union(KRWU) on October 15 argued that "Korail's job regularization implementation plan is a way to oppose the government policy". According to the Korail's plan, Korail uses 9,187 workers indirectly hired; 2,464 workers by five Korail subsidiaries and 6,723 workers by private subcontractors. Korail excluded 2,464 workers hired by five subsidiaries from the job regularization process who Korail claims are pursuant to the 'conversion exclusion reasons' of the government guideline.
Korail identified five tasks in the fields of life and safety such as rolling stock repair, rail track repair, electrical system repair, screen door maintenance and repair, and fire-fighting facility maintenance and repair. Korail narrowed down the target irregular workers for the regularization to 1,337 subcontracted workers hired by the private subcontractors in those five tasks identified in the fields of life and safety.
If the Korail's plan is to be materialized, questions remain unanswered whether the working conditions of those workers whose jobs are converted to the regular jobs. According to the Korail's plan, Korail made it clear that the work system of subcontractors will remain unchanged even after the job regularization. Currently, the work system in each subcontractor shows a variety of difference such as 7-group 3-shift, night shift, special day shift which requires to recruit 500 more workers to catch up with the 3-group 2-shift work system in which the regular workers are currently engaged. Korail said that "it will be difficult to consult with the government for the new recruitment".
Korail plans to design a separate wage system for the workers who are converted from the irregular jobs, without fully integrating them into the wage and career system of the incumbent regular workers. KRWU is critical that "the management moves to convert the irregular workers to the open-ended contract workers to avoid the the principle of equal pay for the equal value of work. Unlike cleaning and security guard tasks outsourced by other public institutions, in Korail, (core) regular jobs such as locomotive drivers, train crews, facility maintenance staff and rolling stock repair technicians are outsourced".
Concerns are also arising surrounding the job regularization policy that might undermine the overall quality of jobs, as Korail indicated in the plan that "it would be necessary to readjust the labor costs of Korail employees to address the managerial burden by the rising labor costs owing to the insourcing of currently outsourced tasks".
A consultation meeting will be held at the end of this month among Korail's management, union and external experts to review the job regularization process to decide the conversion method and number of workers before the consultation with the government in November, and the plan is scheduled to be implemented in January 1 next year.
reported by Lee Eun-young
translated by Kim Sung-jin
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