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Seoul to give 24,000 contract workers permanent status

The Seoul Metropolitan Government on Wednesday announced a plan to give some 24,000 long-term contract workers at municipal organizations full-time, permanent employment status by the year-end.

President Moon Jae-in speaks to non-regular workers at Incheon International Airport on May 12. (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in speaks to non-regular workers at Incheon International Airport on May 12. (Yonhap)

Eleven companies, including Seoul Metro, Seoul Facilities Corp. and Seoul Medical Center, are currently preparing for the transition, which would require budget expansions and organizational changes, the city said. Those who will benefit are workers on “unlimited term contracts” only, not all contract workers, the city said.

“Improving the treatment of long-term contract positions has long been a concern for us. We decided to get rid of such positions, considering that they do the same work as regular employees,” a city government official said. 

Employees on unlimited term contracts are paid less, though their job responsibilities and workload are almost similar to that of regular workers. 

Seoul’s move is in line with President Moon Jae-in’s push to better protect the rights and job security of irregular workers in the public sector. 

In 2011, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon vowed to reduce the number of contract workers and create more regular positions. 

Since March 2012, the city government has changed the status of some 8,000 workers under unlimited term contracts into regular positions. 

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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