The Committee for Justice & Peace of the CBCK held a symposium on "Reflection on and practical tasks for resolving the problem of irregular employment and realizing social solidarity: roles of the society and the Church" at the Jesuit Apostolic Centre in
The irregular employment issue is directly connected with our future because it is a big social problem surpassing a mere relationship between enterprises and irregular workers. The increase of irregular employment will give rise to a social polarization. Thus in the long term, it will breed a social unrest and consequently increase social costs.
The Committee for Justice & Peace conducted a social research on "Issue of irregular employment in
This symposium focused on the responsibilities and roles of all members of society to build a society in which all human beings including irregular workers can live a more decent and dignified life. The participants in the symposium faced up to the irregular employment issue and a phenomenon of social polarization. They seek to solve the problems from the future-oriented vision of social integration and stability.
In his greetings, the Most Rev. Boniface Choi Ki-san, President of the Committee and Bishop of Incheon, said, "Our society has entered into a polarization state, where at the one end of the pole there are irregular workers." He underlined that we should make an effort to improve the quality of life of irregular workers to build a society where people respect the human dignity and the value of labor, and recognize the labour as a human condition."
Dr. Kim Seong-hee, Director of the
Dr. Kim highlighted the reality of irregular workers. According to Dr. Kim, the number of irregular workers accounts for 52% (8,370,000) of 16,100,000 wage-earners. Average wage of irregular workers is 50.2 % of that of regular workers. Thus, irregular workers receive much lower wage than regular workers do. What is worse is the situation of irregular women workers. 64% of women workers were employed in irregular workforce. Moreover, the youth and elderly working in irregular workforce occupied the highest rate of the total number of irregular workers. Dr. Kim insisted on the legal revision and social solidarity for resolving the irregular employment issue in our society.
In his presentation, Fr. O' Keeffee said, "According the teaching of the Church, fair wage is a fundamental measure of economic system. Therefore, the distinction and discrimination between regular and irregular workers in the same work place cannot be morally accepted, even if it is legitimate." He added, "The Church should strive to improve working conditions of all workers in the Church including the irregular workers."
The panels were Mr. Kang Mun-dae, a member of Lawyers' Meeting for a Democratic Society, Mr. Choe Jae-hwang, Communication Master of Korea Employers Federation, Mr. Yi Sang-won, Vice-president of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, Ms. Kim Gyeong-ran, Head of Policy Division at the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, and Br. Ferdinando Yang Un-gi, Former Director of St. Andrew Neuropsychiatric Hospital.