“Beautiful Solidarity Struggle” The struggle joined by both regular and irregular workers hand in hand.
The branch head “demands regularization of irregular workers” in the 30day hunger strike.
The branch of the Busan National University Hospital’s head Jung Jae-bum demanded regularization of irregular workers in the 30day hunger strike. The representative of irregular workers’ union at the same hospital Son Sang-ryang also staged the hunger strike on 27th but was taken to emergency room on the 15th day of the fast. They struggled to demand that outsourced and contracted workers (mainly cleaning and maintenance workers) should be directly hired by the hospital, subsequently being regularized in the working type.
Around 30 groups of the civil society in Busan and the region actively supported the struggle and joined in the relay hunger protest for 11 days.
The KHMU(President Na Sun-ja) held “the 3rd KHMU rally to accomplish direct employment of workers indirectly sourced from outsourced agencies” and declared the all-out struggle. At the rally, President Na included, executives and 500 regular members at 180 branches across the nation attended the rally. The protesters urged the hospital to regularize irregular workers and directly hire workers.
Along with other union organizations, the KHMU staged a series of protests in front of the Blue House while irregular worker members working for national hospitals went into strike three times.
President Moon Jae-in stated that increased irregular workers since his presidency would not be good for social justice, while promising that the government would regularize irregular workers in the public sector. As per the governmental guideline for ‘regularization of irregular employees in the public sector’, which was published in 2017, state-owned hospitals should covert irregular workers to regular ones by the date of contract expiration with manpower service agencies. However, employers including those of the Busan National University Hospital have extended the contract as many times as three times, ignoring the government policies. The employers at the Busan National University Hospital said that they would found an independent subsidiary for their conveniences in recruitment to keep the labor cost at the current level, not observing the government policy.
The KHMU has insisted that all hospitals should directly employ their workers and in permanent positions. Cleaners who are responsible for reducing infection risk and facility sanitation, securities who keep hospitals safe and prevent accidents, maintenance personnel who manages indoor temperature and electronic facilities are all playing very important roles that may directly affect patients’ safety and life. However, those jobs are taken care of by workers in irregular type of labor at the moment, despite that the guideline that was set by the government itself stipulates that those who are responsible for safety and life should be directly hired by hospitals. In this respect, the Busan National University Hospital’s attempt to establish a separate/independent subsidiary to evade the policy rules are no other than disregarding patients’ safety and citizens’ life.
As a result of the KHMU’s firmly committed fights, many of those employers at the state-owned hospitals have had a dialogue at the collective negotiations led by the KHMU. And they agreed to discuss how to regularize irregular workers. This collective negotiation will take place during the next week. If we fail to reach an agreement, the KHMU will develop a strike during the latter half of August.