ASAN, SOUTH KOREA, April 28 (Korea Bizwire) – Death of Another Postal Worker in Asan Raises Concerns Over Poor Working Conditions
Only two months after a letter carrier succumbed to arteriosclerosis in Asan, another postal worker was found dead in his home in the same region by a colleague earlier this week, adding to the growing concerns over the poor working conditions of employees at Korea Post.
The news of the death of Gwak Hyung-gu, a 47-year-old Asan-based letter carrier, comes after colleagues visited his home after he uncharacteristically missed work without notice.
As of last year, South Korean letter carriers delivered an average of 982 pieces of mail every day.
Gwak, however, delivered 300 more, according to South Korean media outlets MBC and Joongang Daily.
Despite a total of 85 letter carrier deaths in the last five years, Korea Post has repeatedly claimed its staff work a weekly average of 48.7 hours, while arguing they have enough employees, disputing criticism aimed at the poor treatment of their workers resulting from a lack of manpower.
However, among the nine letter carriers who have died since last February, seven passed away suddenly, and all were thought to have been overworked in their last couple of months, with some working as much as 13 hours per day.
Although Korea Post announced plans to improve working conditions by reducing working hours and expanding its delivery vehicle capacity after the death of one of its employees back in February, Gwak’s death has added fuel to the criticism over the lack of responsibility shown on the part of Korea Post.
With notable change yet to come, the Korean Postman Worker’s Union (KPMWU) slammed the Ministry of Employment & Labor (MOEL) for a lack of action, despite requests for labor supervision.
In response to the criticism, an official at the MOEL said the ministry is looking into the situation, and considering the appropriateness of labor supervision in the case of the poor working conditions at Korea Post.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)