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Sep. 25  2018
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Christian's Photo Column 

Migrant Workers don’t want one modified trainee system

According to the new law at first that the migrant workers can’t choose the factory. In the reality migrant workers will choose their own working place, but then they will be again “illegal” and of course without labor rights.

Source  :  BASE21

by Christian / Base21 Media Activists
dvs-b@t-online.de



Since 1991 Korean migrant worker “market” is ruled by the so-called Industrial Trainee System (ITS), but it has nothing to do with any kind of traineeship. In fact it is the modern form of slavery. Migrant workers there even don’t have human rights. The usual working day for migrant workers based on this law has 12 hours. Many were forced to work nearly every day without any holyday. And of course migrant workers got only dirty, difficult and dangerous jobs – the so-called 3-D jobs. The payment, if you want to call it like this, is very low – at maximum by 500.000 Won. Sometimes even there’s no payment.

This conditions forces the trainees to search for jobs with better conditions. But on the other side automatically they’re forced into illegality, because the visa for Korea is connected only for the company made the trainee contract.

Since long time migrant workers - now organized in the Equal Trade Union – Migrant’s Branch (ETU-MB), a part of KCTU – struggle against ITS. They demand a fair system by 5 years working visa with full rights as labors like every ordinary Korean worker.

In the year 2000 the Korean government presented the public the so-called Employment Permit System (EPS). Kabir Uddin, representative for ETU-MB said: “Of course the EPS is a step forward to abolish the inhuman ITS.” Of course it is a progress step that migrant workers will be legalized according to the new law. It is also very important that they’ll get labor rights. But finally he says that this is not what fore they were struggling because in fact the EPS don’t reduce the “illegal” migrants and also in fact don’t give the full labor rights.

The main critic points, Kabir Uddin said, are that according to the new law at first that the migrant workers can’t choose the factory. In the reality migrant workers will choose their own working place, but then they will be again “illegal” and of course without labor rights.

Another point is the new visa system. According to EPS migrant workers get one-year visa in succession. After this three years they have to leave the country. The ETU-MB is demanding for a 5-year working visa according to International Labor Organization law. Otherwise migrant workers will stay over and in this process they’ll become also “illegal” without labor rights. Another point, ETU-MB is worry about: If the employer sees that one migrant worker will be active in the labor movement he don’t get the next one-year visa.

The next issue criticized by ETU-MB that according to the bill the factory owners are not obligated anymore to give the migrant workers free housing.

When migrant workers are staying for long time in Korea they want to bring their families into the country. According to the EPS it is not permitted.

ETU-MB finally demands for a proper government to government process to hire the workers in the different countries. The Union prefers that the potentially migrant workers get the working permissions directly in the South Korean embassies in the different countries. Because otherwise it let space open for illegal brokering like the practices is until now.

Because EPS is only for newcomers and the man hunting for “illegal” migrant workers will continue so the main ETU-MB demand is: Legalize all 300.000 undocumented migrant workers!

Because of all this points ETU-MB, but also KCTU is completely against EPS - EPS is only a modified ITS.
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