Nov. 21, 2017
The Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) set up and operated ten field labor offices in nine major cities from September 12th to 28th under the slogan, "We will listen to the people's voice to start out on a new path", to collect opinions from the general public on what needs to be done to improve labor administration practices and systems and reflect them in labor administration and thereby innovate labor inspection services and create a society where labor is respected.
Until then, MOEL had tried to tackle problems only after their actual occurrence - i.e. after the occurrence of complaints or accusations about them.
The field labor offices were intended to prevent pay delays, labor disputes, industrial accidents, etc., before they happen by listening to citizens' opinions and reflecting them in labor administration.
During their 17-day operating period, the field labor offices received and dealt with a total of 6,271 cases, of whom 3,233 were suggestions and complaints and 3,028 labor counseling cases.
The number of suggestions received by the field labor offices is 3~4 times that received by MOEL from citizens per year. From this, it can be seen that the nation eagerly wants and hopes for change in labor administration.
* Number of suggestions received per year: 988 cases in 2015 → 812 cases in 2016
MOEL has strived to handle those suggestions and complaints as soon as possible and actively reflect them in its policy and institutional improvements.
By November 17th, 79.9% of the complaints received by the field labor offices had been handled. They were handled faster than complaints in general with an average handling time of 26.3 days compared with 44.6 days for complaints in general.
In particular, as for the first complaint received by a field labor office, a labor inspection was conducted on the day immediately following the date of receipt, and the case was settled in just 13 days.
* Hyundai Green Food Co., Ltd., had made unfavorable changes to employees' work schedule, such as requiring employees to clock in by 3:30, without the consent of the trade union. The complaint was received on Sep. 12. → The company was instructed to correct its violation after labor inspection (Sep. 13~14) → The company returned to the previous work schedule requiring employees to clock in by 7:00 on Sep. 25.
The second complaint was received by the field labor office in Daegu. It was settled in just 12 days under a labor-management agreement brokered by MOEL.
* Taekyung Industrial Co., Ltd., had installed CCTV cameras to illegally spy on the trade union (17 employees, 16 CCTV cameras). The complaint was received on Sep. 15. → On Sep. 26 the management and trade union agreed to remove six CCTV cameras. → The cameras were removed on Sep. 27.
As for the complaint filed by workers of Mando Hella Electronics Corp's subcontractor, upon receipt of the complaint, MOEL instructed the company to correct its violation and brokered negotiations between labor and management more than ten times. As a result, the company directly employed 308 workers of its subcontractor as regular employees on November 15th.
* Upon receipt of the complaint through the field labor office (Sep. 22), MOEL instructed the company to directly employ illegally dispatched workers (Sep. 26). → MOEL brokered negotiations between labor and management more than ten times. → The company directly employed its subcontractor's workers on Nov. 15.
Of the suggestions made to the field labor offices, 68.1% were adopted. The figure is quite high compared with MOEL's average suggestion adoption rate of 3%.
Adopted suggestions will be reflected in policy and institutional improvements made to innovate labor inspection services, eliminate pay delays, prevent industrial accidents and eradicate unfair labor practices.
Suggestions will be implemented right away if possible, and even matters which require enactment or amendment of legislation will be carried out as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, MOEL held a briefing session on the outcomes of the field labor offices under the slogan, "A society where labor is respected and people-centered MOEL", at the Amoris Hall of GS Tower on November 21st.
The event was attended by MOEL's Minister, Vice-Minister and staff, citizens who had made suggestions or complaints to the field labor offices and people from workers' and employers' organizations, including the President of the Korea Employers Federation and the Vice-President of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions.
At the event, MOEL briefed the nation about the field labor offices' activities and suggestion and complaint handling results and presented awards to ten people who had made excellent suggestions, and three suggesters and one complainant* gave presentations about their cases.
* Case of Hyundai Green Food (Head of the Kia Motors Non-regular Workers Union), three suggesters who won the top excellence award, excellence award and encouragement award, respectively (Cheon Han-seul, Kim Ji-eun and Cho Hwa-seon)
Of the suggestions and complaints received by the local labor offices, 63.3% coincide with the national employment and labor policy agenda.
This implies that MOEL can implement labor inspection innovation and employment and labor policy which are in line with the national policy agenda and the nation wants if it reflects citizens' voices heard through the field labor offices in labor administration.
Minister Kim Young-joo stated her impression of the operation of the field labor offices, "Through the operation of the field labor offices, I felt once again the importance of field-oriented labor administration and that the Ministry of Employment and Labor is a people-centered ministry."
She went on to say, "In order to realize a society where labor is respected, we will continue to pursue field-oriented and people-centered labor administration while at the same time making efforts to ensure that the people's voice continues to be reflected in labor administration, for instance by including the status of civil complaints as one of the items displayed on MOEL's e-field administration situation board (due to be installed in the Minister's office in January 2018) and operating field labor offices regularly, once every year."