Published : 2013-10-17 19:29
Updated : 2013-10-17 19:29
Lawmakers have found that a significant proportion of the nation’s public organizations have a clause on job inheritance either in their collective bargaining agreements or in their bylaws.
According to data disclosed by legislators on the Assembly’s Environment and Labor Committee, 65 of the nation’s entire 432 public institutions, including those affiliated with local governments, have a provision in their collective bargaining agreements that requires them to hire a family member of an employee when they are forced to retire due to an industrial accident.
The institutions include Korea National Oil Corp., Korea Gas Corp. and Korea Railroad Corp.
Another 11 agencies, including KEPCO KPS and Korea Power Exchange, have enshrined such an obligation in their bylaws.
Among these organizations, five have actually hired 22 employees in compliance with the controversial provision. They include Korea Railroad, Kangwon Land and Korea Rural Community Corp.
This hiring practice is illegal. In May, the district court in Ulsan, Korea’s industrial hub, nullified the job inheritance clause in Hyundai Motor’s collective bargaining agreement, saying that it “intrudes on the employer’s intrinsic right to hire employees.”
The court also said that the practice of hiring a family member of an industrial accident victim “not only runs against labor laws but constitutes a breach of social justice.”
Guaranteeing employment from generation to generation should not be tolerated, as it deprives young people of employment opportunities. Such a practice is all the more unacceptable for public organizations, given that their employees already enjoy higher wages and better job security than their peers at private companies. So much so that jobs at public corporations are called “jobs from heaven.”
Many public organizations were also found to ignore their obligations to hire people with disabilities. Under the law, public entities are required to have disabled people make up 2.5 to 3 percent of their workforce. Last year, 137 public organizations paid fines for their failure to observe these obligations.
The government should prohibit job inheritance at not only private companies but also at public organizations. It should push for a ban on the anachronistic practice and mete out punishments to those that violate it.
At the same time, it should put pressure on private companies to stop giving undue favors to the children of their employees in the hiring process. According to reports, many domestic companies give extra points to employees’ children in the interview process. They practice such favoritism under pressure from trade unions. The government needs to ensure equal employment opportunities in the workplace.