KHMU Newsletter No. 8 Released on April 21, 2020
The 22nd Anniversary Ceremony and Central Committee
“Turn COVID-19 Crisis into Opportunity. We Commit to Fights for Full-Fledged Reform of Health and Medical System”
The Korean Health and Medical Workers’ Union (KHMU, President Na Soon-ja) convened the commemorative ceremony on KHMU’s 22nd anniversary and the Central Committee to evaluate what they have done in 2019 and to conclude plans for major activities and budget for 2020.
The industry-level national union has held an annual congress at the end of February every year, but, considering the exceptional situation: COVID-19 outbreak, the KHMU collected congress members’ opinions and have them vote on a virtual platform. And based on the outcome of the vote, the Central Committee finalized the evaluation and the plans.
According to the Central Committee’s
conclusion, revolution in three domains: medical system, work place and
organization will be set as the core direction for the Union’s activities
throughout the year 2020.
First, on medical revolution side, ▲ reform the health and medical system and get over the COVID-19 outbreak ▲ expand public health and medical services.
Second, for work place revolution, ▲ fight for 4Out 2O.K ▲ solve the issue of lack of staff in hospitals ▲ prepare to standardize working conditions by industries.
Third, in terms of organizational revolution, ▲ strengthen industry-level organizations, identify and foster young activists ▲ strategically unionize 100,000 workers.
“I believe the landslide win by the ruling party in the general election on April 15 shows Koreans’ approval for the tight and extensive virus control by the current administration. COVID-19 was transparently and swiftly handled thanks to Korea’s experiences of MERS outbreak. Also, mature citizenship and medical staff’s devotion made a big contribution,” said President Na in her opening remarks. She added, “We, health and medical workers have been at the front line in the fight against coronavirus. Hence, our voices deserve to be heard. Taking this chance, we should raise our voices for a full-fledged reform of the medical system for all Koreans. For example, we should urge the government to establish infection-specialized hospitals at the national and regional levels; to expand public medical services; and to provide sickness and injury benefits to workers for them to rest while being sick. In addition, with this prolonged COVID-19 outbreak, the government also needs to take actions to protect health and medical workers.”
Kim Myeong-hwan, President of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) paid a visit to the ceremony and the committee. “During this COVID-19 outbreak, how valuable medical workers’ labor was reaffirmed as well as their labor’s social value. Besides, we again realized that public nature of medical services should be expanded and the number of workers in the medical sector should be increased,” said Kim.
The Central Committee adopted a resolution after the election on members of the Central Committee and the Congress, following an in-depth deliberation about evaluation on the activities that were done and approval for financial settlement for 2019, and plans and budget for 2020.
○ In the “Special Resolution to Get Over COVID-19,” participants endorse to push forward with social dialogue formed by workers, employers, government and experts to overcome medical disaster of COVID-19 and set up the best possible medical and health system.
They also showed their commitment in the resolution:
“Working conditions faced by medical workers are getting worse at the front line on fight against COVID-19 thereby their safety being threatened. But the quality of medical services received by patients cannot be assured unless workers are safe. With that in mind, we will try our utmost to conduct public activities nationwide in order to assure the rights to safety and labor as well as to secure a sufficient number of medical staff to protect lives of people and patients from threats of less available medical services, poor medical examination and unsafe conditions.
Before the Central Committee was held, with the assistant secretary Han Mi-jung being an MC, the ceremony to commemorate the 22nd anniversary of KHMU was also proceeded.