‘Workers should take test before landing job’
By Lee Kyung-min
About 1,000 unionized regular workers at the Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) have expressed opposition to the government’s move to convert irregular workers to regular status, triggering a conflict, Tuesday.
This was in response to IIAC CEO Chung Il-young’s announcement he would convert the status of about 10,000 irregular workers at IIAC-affiliated organizations to regular workers by the end of the year.
His remarks followed President Moon Jae-in’s visit to the airport in May, where he pledged to “reduce the number of irregular workers to zero” within his term.
The regular workers’ union issued a statement, Monday, demanding irregular workers undergo a hiring process just as strenuous and competitive as theirs.
“The hiring should be open and fair. Irregular workers who wish to become regular workers must pass an open competition, a due requirement for the much-coveted occupation of working at the airport,” it said.
Applicants should be given bonus credit when applying for the regular position, not a “free gift,” it added.
The government’s plan goes against its separate initiative to root out “suspected corruption involving hiring at government agencies and public institutions,” it said.
There is no clear information, the union pointed out, as to how irregular workers landed their jobs in the first place, adding that changing the status of irregular workers without even looking into the hiring process would result in a “contradiction.”
Giving 10,000 positions to individuals not verified for individual merit is unfair to many jobseekers with plans to apply to the organization, it said. The union concluded the whole process thus far lacks logic, and therefore requires a fundamental review.
A similar issue was raised by a group of union workers at Seoul Metro, which operates subway lines 1 to 8, after the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced in July that 2,442 irregular workers would be granted regular status.
About 1,000 regular workers who began working between 2013 and 2016 opposed the plan, saying there should be a differentiating quality to benefit those who pass the fierce competition.
The issue involving irregular workers came under the media spotlight after one such 19-year-old worker was killed on the job in Seoul after an incoming train hit him on May 28 last year. He was repairing a platform safety door at Guui Station on Line 2.
Another controversy was that the monthly pay of regular workers increases in proportion to their length of employment, but that of irregular workers remains stagnant.
In 20 years, the annual salary gap between the two amounts to 24 million won ($21,000).