Graduate students establish labor union to fight unfair treatment

By Jo He-rim
  • Published : Jan 17, 2018 - 21:48
  • Updated : Jan 17, 2018 - 21:48
Graduate students have established the first labor union in South Korea, to fight unfair treatment they may receive as school assistants, the labor union said Wednesday.

Students from six graduate schools in Seoul gathered to create the National Graduate Student Labor Union last month. 

Statement released by the National Graduate STudent Labor Union (National Graduate STudent Labor Union-Yonhap)

“While graduate students contribute to the academia and school’s administrative processes as assistants and researchers, our basic labor rights have not been protected,” the union said in a statement.

“We aim to create school environments where learning and labor rights coexist.”

The statement also said it would start a movement to demand changes in the hiring and employment system of graduate school teaching assistants.

The union‘s main goal is to secure “free and equal” footing in the professor-student relationship and protect members’ labor rights.

While several universities already have general student councils, the union viewed that concentrated efforts and legal protection are needed to properly protect the rights of the graduate students.

“The perspective that graduate students are a cheap labor source leads to unfair treatment. Our goal is to introduce a new system or change the current one so that senior and junior members of graduate schools can work as researchers, respecting each other,” union head Koo Seul-a said.

By Jo He-rim (