SEOUL, April 27 (Korea Bizwire) – With 11 Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) employees succumbing to injuries caused by work accidents last year, the shipbuilding company is facing criticism as well as the misfortune of being labeled the worst corporation with regard to workplace safety, with some of the harshest critics using the word ‘murder’ to describe the poor working conditions.
A collective workers’ rights campaign team made up of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and the Federation of Korean Trade Unions held a press conference in Gwanghwamun Square, during which it exposed South Korean companies with the worst worker welfare through a list based on statistics and reports from the Ministry of Employment & Labor.
Following HHI, Daewoo Engineering & Construction, Daelim, and Posco also made it to the list of companies with the most employee negligence.
Among those on the list, more attention is being paid to HHI, which has continued to report work accidents despite receiving special supervision several times in the past and having faced the similar humiliation of topping the list over its negligence of workers’ safety back in 2015.
The shipbuilding company sparked controversy last year when reports emerged that seven out of ten worker deaths were linked to the harsh working condition at subcontractors.
Apart from corporations, government branches and public enterprises including the Ministry of Education and Korea Post were also slammed for breaching the rights of students and workers.
The worker’s rights campaign team, which gave both the Ministry of Education and Korea Post a special award, explained the decision, saying, “Even though government branches and public enterprises should serve as role models for improving the rights and lives of workers, their negligent action and long working hours made them deserving of the award.”
The vice chairman of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, Moon Hyeon-gun, said, “To tackle the lack of workplace safety and reform the current work accident prevention system comprehensively, laws that punish companies that neglect the rights of their workers need to be introduced.”
The campaign team has been releasing an annual list of companies with the worst record of workers’ rights since 2006 to in an effort to raise awareness and gather support for new legislation.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)