KHMU Info No. 4(April 27, 2019)
Negotiations on Policy for Labor-respected Workplaces and on Employment will Take Place.
Industry-level Demand and Struggle Direction for Year 2019 was Finalized.
The Korean Health and Medical Workers’ Union (KHMU) finalized the industry-level demand and struggle direction for year 2019 and announced that negotiations will begin in earnest. The KHMU convened a temporary congress in the grand conference hall at Yeungnam University Medical Center at 2:00 pm on 16th and decided to begin the industry-level collective bargaining on policies, employment and respect for labor on May 8.
The demands for year 2019 are as follows: ▲ create decent jobs (on-the-job training program for nurses, maternity leave-considered employment policy, nursing-care giving integrated service expansion) ▲ create a safe environment where human rights is respected (safe hospital, prevention of bullying, eradication of violence and human rights protection) ▲ make a progress in industrial relations and realize public good (set-up of TF team on labor policy, creation of labor-management joint fund) ▲ raise wage. For wage increase, the KHMU decided to request a 6% increase against the total wage, taking into account the result of survey on actual working conditions and this year’s wage increase percentage demand set by the KCTU.
The demands that will be claimed in industry-level collective bargaining and recommendations that include additional items to be discussed at the collective bargaining according to the amended law as of 2019 were also finalized. For the demands to be submitted to the central government are as follows: ▲ improve training programs for entry-level nurses and create decent jobs ▲ create a safe environment by rooting out the illegal medical practices ▲ set up a manual to protect workers often exposed to emotional labor and to respect human rights ▲ convert irregular job positions to regular ones in public hospitals ▲ make a progress in industrial relations and realize public goods ▲ stop the attempt to privatize medical services and ensure the public nature of health and medical services.
Based on such demands, the KHMU is scheduled to hold “Labor-Management Joint Policy Workshop on Decent Job Creation in the Health and Medical Sector” on May 8 and move onto the pre-meeting for the industry-level collective bargaining during the afternoon on the same day.
In addition, the congress adopted a resolution that the KHMU will intensively organize an all-out struggle in April joined by all members of the union to prevent free-labor, flexible working system leading to death from overwork and evil revision of the minimum wage system.
Meanwhile, the KHMU held a rally for “struggle to create a hospital without laid-off workers” with 300 protesters including the congress members, members of civil society and local labor unions in Daegu. At the rally, the union also urged to normalize industrial relations and reinstate the discharged workers of Yeungnam University Medical Center .
The permission to establish a for-profit hospital was nullified, which is a victory of the KHMU
The Jeju provincial government finally cancelled the permission for the for-profit hospital establishment. The provincial government allowed a group to found a for-profit hospital for the first time in Korea. In response, the civil society including the KHMU has since strongly protested against it.
According to the medical law in Korea, any hospital permitted by the government should begin to run the business within 3 months but the Greenland International Medical Center failed to do so.
The strong opposition of the civil society led the provincial government to cancel the permission on April 17.
The KHMU announced a welcome statement about this cancellation and urged the Jeju provincial government to acquire the medical facilities and run it as a public hospital.
The KHMU stated, “There should be no such a place for for-profit hospital in Korea” when developing the struggles against for-profit hospitals for 4 months. And eventually, the medical union gained a fruitful victory.