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[labor news] Publicness and profitability collide in labor dispute at Chonnam National University Hospital
▲ The Korean Health and Medical Workers' Union(KHMU) holds an all-out struggle rally in support of its Chonnam National University Hospital(CNUH) Chapter which has been going on a strike over a week on September 18 at the CNUH building in Dong-gu District, Gwangju. (provided by the Korean Health and Medical Workers' Union)

The labor and the management of the Chonnam National University Hospital(CNUH) have been running in parallel without narrowing the gap between their differences on the issues of the number of additional staffing and the conversion of non-regular workers to the regular employment status. September 18 marks the passing of a week of the union's industrial action which seems to be further prolonged.

The Korean Health and Medical Workers' Union(KHMU) organized an all-out struggle resolution rally with the participation of about 600 unionized staff at the CNU hospital located in Dong-gu District, Gwangju on the afternoon of September 18. Na Sun-ja, president of the Korean Health and Medical Workers' Union(KHMU) stressed in her speech before union members that "The CNU Hospital has a (social) responsibility to lead the implementation of the job creation and the regularization of non-regular jobs, and the 52-hour work week ceiling(including 12 hours of extended work per week) as a local public hospital covering the greater area (of Gwangju City)." She continued her speech to denounce the CNUH that "Even though it uploaded an innovation plan of the public institution to implement such policies on its website, but they do not show their commitment to the implementation."

According to the labor union, the labor and the management of the Chonnam National University Hospital have come to an agreement on about 30 items including the wage hike in the last collective bargaining. However, they have come to a deadlock on the issues of the number of additional staffing, leaves and the conversion of non-regular workers to the regular employment status.

The labor union demanded 68 additional staff to observe the 52-hour work week ceiling and 180 additional staff to upgrade its current nursing grade to the Grade 1. However, the management said it would only increase 61 staff for the improvement of the working conditions including the upgrading of its intensive care unit. The management also opposed the introduction of a three-day emotional labor leave per year, citing the additional financial burden of labor costs.

The labor and the management do not find any compromise to come to an agreement on the issue of the non-regular workers. The labor union demanded the direct employment of agency and subcontract workers in accordance with 'the guideline of the standard wage system for the conversion of non-regular workers to the regular workers in the public hospitals under the umbrella of the Korean Health and Medical Workers' Union', but the management has take a passive attitude toward the issue because they believe it belongs to the personnel management rights.

Shin Na-ri, CNUH chapter secretary, said that "we cannot reach an agreement, because the management calculated the additional staffing based on the 52-hour work week including 12 hours of extended work and with such high level of labor intensity it would become hard to realize the quality medical care services for the patients as the focused beneficiaries."

reported by Kim Mi-young
translated by Kim Sung-jin

번역 김성진  goyong1472@gmail.com

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