|▲ Cleaning and security workers hold a press briefing to call on the Ministry of Employment and Labor(MOEL) to carry out an inspection into the conditions of their recess rooms in front of the MOEL Seoul Regional Office on September 12. (Yun Ja-eun/The Labor Today)|
"No government officials of the Ministry of Employment and Labor would have any chance to take a break in a recess room under the staircases. If you stay in a recess room under the staircases for just ten minutes, you would not bear the noises of clumping footsteps from the ceiling. It gets worse in a recess room with no air conditioning and it's impossible to take a break there."
Lee Kyeong-ja, Vice-president of the Seoul Regional Office of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers' Union(KPTU) explained the inadequate situation facing the cleaning and security workers working in the universities and buildings in Seoul, after having finshed a survey study on their recess rooms situation. Last month, the Ministry of Employment and Labor(MOEL) announced a guideline for the installment and operation of recess rooms and issued a notice for an examination on the situation. However, as MOEL did not take any action up until now, building and security workers carried out a survey on their situation for themselves.
They conducted a survey on 293 buildings in 23 workplaces including 17 universities for the last one month. Of 202 buildings in which cleaning service workers were working, 58 buildings had the recess rooms on the basement floors and 50 buildings had the recess rooms under the staircases. Even there were 17 buildings with no recess rooms so that cleaning workers were forced to move to other buildings with recess rooms or take a break in the washrooms. 69 recess rooms were neither air-conditioned nor air-circulated, and even 3 of them were not provided with electric fans. It was an unbearable situation for them to stay in the recess rooms under such conditions during the heat wave of this summer.
KPTU Seoul Regional Office called on the MOEL to carry out an intensive inspection in particular into the 6 worst workplaces they identified: Ewha Womans University, Hongik University, Chungang University, Korea University Anam Hospital, Korea Press Center, and Korea Broadcasters Center.
reported by Yun Ja-eun
translated by Kim Sung-jin
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