“I don’t go to work, I take my salary” angered Seogyo executives on site
The Seoul Metropolitan Transportation Authority has launched an internal audit amid growing concerns that some union officials have been abusing the time-off system to receive wages without reporting to work.
According to a report by the JoongAng Ilbo on the 21st, the audit office of the Seoul Transportation Corporation is conducting a full investigation into the use of time off by union executives. The time-off system is a system that recognizes union activities as working hours and pays wages, with time limits set according to the size of the union. Unions can allocate the time off to their executives.
Graphic by Hyunseo Kim firstname.lastname@example.org
Construction unions, such as the Seoul Transportation Workers’ Union (Seogyo) under the Democratic Trade Union Confederation, the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), and the Righteous Union, also known as the MZ Union, utilize ‘full-time’ and ‘part-time’ cadres. Full-time members are exempted from the full 2000 hours of work per year, allowing them to work full-time throughout the year. Part-timers, on the other hand, have to apply for time-off days in advance, and otherwise report to work as normal.
In fact, according to the “Seoul Transportation Corporation May 2023 Working Hour Exemption (Time-Off) List,” obtained by the JoongAng Ilbo through the office of Yoon Young-hee, a member of the Seoul City Council, Mr. A, a part-time worker, applied for 17.66 hours of time off for two days this month, and Mr. B, a part-time worker of the same union, applied for 17.34 hours of time off for two days. They are only allowed to engage in union activities on certain days in May, and are required to report to work on the other days.
However, when Rep. Yoon contacted their workplaces directly, neither Mr. A nor Mr. B showed up for work on the non-time-off days. In the transcript provided by Yoon, Mr. A’s workplace said, “Mr. A does office work, so he doesn’t come (to the workplace)”. Mr. B also told his workplace that he was a “full-time union member” and did not show up for work, Yoon explained. The abuse was found not only in the Seogyo union but also in the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, Yoon said.
“These are only two cases that were finally confirmed through on-site verification with specific time-off dates,” Yoon said. “There are many more suspected cases that are undergoing the final verification process, and we are still receiving reports of more abuses.” “A thorough investigation must be conducted to correct the union’s wrongful practices and illegalities,” he added.
An internal bulletin board at the Seoul Metro pointed out union time off. Courtesy of Yoon Young-hee, Seoul Assembly Member for People’s Power
There have also been complaints from within the Seoul Metro that the practice has been going on for a long time. One employee wrote on the corporation’s internal bulletin board, “Please investigate union officials who take time off. Is this normal?” Another employee complained, “I’ve never seen a union official come to work.” Another employee pointed out, “If you’re a union official, you don’t work a single day a year and you’re exempt from work, right?”
In particular, employees complained of labor shortages due to the part-time union officials occupying only the capacity (TO) in the four-man, two-woman shifts. A construction employee who requested anonymity said, “It is not uncommon for existing union executives to stay out of the company for as little as three years or as long as 30 years and still receive all of their salaries스포츠토토.” “There are always not enough people on site, and the labor shortage is only growing,” he pointed out.
It is understood that the Seoul Metropolitan Transportation Authority started the audit itself as the internal criticisms continued. “There are voices of employees raising issues, so the audit office is looking into (the issue of time-off utilization) in parallel with the duty inspection,” said an official, adding, “The principle is that we must provide work except on days when we apply for an exemption from working hours.” Baek Ho, a candidate for president of the Seoul Transportation Corporation, also emphasized during his personnel hearing on the 17th that he would “check how the time-off system is complied with in the field for the purpose for which it was enacted.”
In response to these allegations and the ongoing audit, the Seo Gyo-naughty union told the JoongAng Ilbo that it had no position on the matter. The Unified Workers’ Union responded by saying, “(The company’s audit) is a repression to suppress union activities in line with the Yoon Seok-yeol regime, which is trying to maintain its popularity by bashing unions.”
As of last year, Seoul Metro had a total of 38,000 hours of time off, split between five unions (including two unions on Line 9). The Seogyo union has the most hours at 23,014, followed by the Unified Union (6,105 hours) and the Right Union (1,282 hours). The union with the largest number of members is Seogyo, with 12 full-time and 23 part-time union members. The integrated union has 3 full-time and 6 part-time members, and the right union has only 1 part-time member.