SEOUL, Nov. 27 (Korea Bizwire) – Seventy eight security guards working at an apartment in posh Apgujeong-dong, southern Seoul, where a janitor set himself on fire due to mistreatment by a mean resident, are in danger of being fired. All of them got pre-notice of discharge on November 19 and 20. It is suspected to be a retaliatory measure against the suicide incident as residents think it defamed images of the apartment.
On October 7, a security guard working in the apartment committed suicide by drenching his body with inflammable liquid and then igniting himself with his cigarette lighter. On November 7, he finally passed away. He killed himself because of a resident who had treated him like a second-class citizen. Even though he got stressed too much, he couldn’t protest against her actions at all since he was an employee of a subcontractor, which signed an agreement with the apartment management office.
As soon as the incident was reported, it created huge controversies, of which the apartment became at the center. The residents reportedly asserted with one mouth that the happening disgraced the community. At a resident representative meeting, therefore, residents agreed to change its subcontractor with another, according to the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions.
The Minimum Wages Act could be another reason for the notice. Janitors who have gotten 90 percent of the minimum wage can now receive 100 percent from next year under the new law. This measure makes not only the apartment management office in question but also other apartment offices nationwide sack security guards in order to save increased personnel expenses. Some anticipated that about 50,000 security workers across Korea are going to be laid off due to the changed law.
As the situation is getting worse, the Ministry of Employment and Labor offered countermeasures: period extension of subsidies for apartment offices which hire workers aged 60 or older, further research on the actual condition of security guards, distribution of guidelines and the like. However, human rights advocacy groups insisted that the measures are just a temporary remedy. They strongly called for the government to prepare more effective countermeasures for powerless safety guards across the country.
By Veronica Huh (email@example.com)