Looked Away Basic Rights of Workers

By Jemma Kim

Published Date: 2021 / 01 / 31


Hankyoreh, reporter Kim Myung-Jin (littleprince@hani.co.kr).

Starting from December 16th, there has been a sit-in happening in LG Twin Towers. People participating in the sit-in are the cleaning workers of Jisoo INC are asking for continued employment.

On November 30th, cleaning workers received an abrupt message from Jisoo INC, that their contracts would be terminated on the last day of December. The reason for the termination is because the affiliate S&I Cooperation that is in charge of the building ended a contract with Jisoo INC. More than 80 workers belonging to Jisoo INC were fired. Following this unfair dismissal, the workers started a sit-in on December 16th, and it is still happening in LG Twin Towers.

LG announced that they are not related to the issue, saying that they won’t take any measures regarding it. However, S&1 Cooperation is an affiliated company of LG, which is in charge of managing the buildings of LG. It managed the building by subcontracting other companies for each building. For LG Twin Towers, S&I Cooperation subcontracted Jisoo INC for ten years. The stakes of Jisoo INC company belong to two relatives of the CEO of LG. The relationships between three companies suggest that the issue is under the influence of LG. There has been criticism from people blaming LG for avoiding to take responsibility for the issue by simply denying their involvement.

Besides, the refusal of employment succession is unusual. In recent two years, the succession of employment happened for every 11 companies where subcontractors changed. According to an official of the labor union, the succession of employment normally happens even in absence of a labor union because companies need experienced workers; the group dismissal of Jisoo INC is unprecedented.

S&I Cooperation explained the decision was made considering customer satisfaction and other general elements. They explained that they attempted negotiation with the workers more than 20 times, yet it failed due to the labor union’s impractical requests such as the extension of retirement age. They added that they are working on allocating workers to different places. However, the workers’ explanation is different. Regarding the extension of the retirement age, the labor union explained that it is proposed because it has already happened in other companies, and they didn’t ask for absolute acceptance; they explained this can be negotiated. The labor union stated that the problem can be solved through the succession of employment.

The workers claim that the customers’ dissatisfaction does not explain this abrupt dismissal. Park Soyoung, who worked for 11 years, cautiously mentioned that the formation of the labor union seems to be the reason. It was created in October 2019 when there was news saying that the workload assigned to individuals will increase in order to reduce the number of workers. Whether that news was true or not, after the formation of the labor union, Park realized how poor the working conditions are, realizing that the company was not giving proper wages on Saturday and by manipulating the mealtime.

Meanwhile, the company’s reaction to the sit-in has been issued as well. On January first during the sit-in, the company cut off the electricity, blocked the workers from getting food, and even disapproved of them meeting their family members. Even though many human rights activists brought meals for the workers, they couldn’t eat a single meal because it was refused by the company. The video of the security guard taking food away from the workers and throwing it away was released (https://twitter.com/CheapTruth/status/1345239037347553281).

Works Cited
이효상. “LG 트윈타워 청소노동자 ‘노조 만들었다고 계약해지.’” 경향신문, 22 Dec. 2020, news.khan.co.kr/kh_news/khan_art_view.html?art_id=202012222104005.

강예슬. “LG트윈타워 청소노동자 고용승계 요구에 발 빼는 LG.” 매일노동뉴스, 10 Jan. 2021, www.labortoday.co.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=200787.

김태헌. “트윈타워 청소노동자들, 해고 반발 농성 중 '밥·전기' 끊겨.” 노컷뉴스, 2 Jan. 2021, www.nocutnews.co.kr/news/5474558.

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