Nov. 30, 2017
On November 30th (Thu.) Employment and Labor Minister Kim Young-joo visited the Construction Workers Mutual Aid Association in Jung-gu, Seoul to hold an on-site business briefing with employers' and workers' representatives. At the briefing, she expressed her strong determination to improve the employment and welfare of construction workers.
It was the first visit to the association by an Employment and Labor Minister for about 20 years since its launch on December 18th, 1997 which was attended by the then Labor Minister.
The significance of the visit is even more notable because it took place immediately after construction workers who had staged a high-altitude sit-in demanding a revision of the Act on the Employment Improvement, etc., of Construction Workers ended their protest on November 28th.
The Construction Workers Mutual Aid Association has strived to improve the employment and welfare of construction workers by running the retirement mutual aid scheme, providing skill upgrading training and free employment services and operating a health examination program and a scholarship program for construction workers. It was designated as a public institution falling into the category of 'other public institutions' in January 2013.
At the business briefing joined by employers' and workers' representatives, Minister Kim stated the "need to raise the daily contribution amount (currently 4,200 won) which has remained the same since 2008" and her "willingness to improve the requirements for receipt of benefits*" and ordered the association to "pay full attention to operating the retirement mutual-aid scheme".
* Currently, construction workers with a contribution period of at least 252 days can receive benefits when they retire from the construction industry, die or reach the age of 60. → After revision, even those with a contribution period of less than 252 days will be able to receive benefits when they die or reach the age of 65.
The Minister also mentioned the "importance of the construction industry as a job creator" and emphasized that steady preparations, including preventing pay delays and successfully introducing an electronic card system* currently under discussion, should be made to "improve the quality of construction jobs".
* The e-card system enables construction workers to report their work history to the Mutual Aid Association by electronic means to prevent any day worked by them from being omitted from their report to the association.
The executives and employees of the Construction Workers Mutual Aid Association (President Kwon Young-soon) promised to "concentrate their capacity on supporting construction workers' employment and promoting their welfare so that the association can reinvent itself as the central institution responsible for construction workers' employment and welfare".
They also pledged to "do their utmost to achieve business innovation in order to create a workplace free of discrimination against non-regular workers, hiring irregularities and sexual harassment".
The briefing was followed by a meeting with employees at which the Minister and participating employees had an open-minded dialogue with each other.
The employees stated their candid opinions on pending issues facing the association, ways to improve it, their work-related difficulties and so on.
The Minister responded by saying, "Let's pool our wisdom to make the Mutual Aid Association an institution that stays in tune with construction workers."
Meanwhile, Minister Kim is due to visit Korea University of Technology and Education in the city of Cheonan in South Chungcheong Province on December 4th (Mon.) as the fourth stop on her tour of public institutions.
* Minister's series of field visits to 12 MOEL-affiliated public institutions: Korea Job World (Nov. 14), Korea Employment Information Service (Nov. 20) and Construction Workers Mutual Aid Association (Nov. 30)