“Lee Sang-bong has been exploiting the passion and labor of young designers in the fashion industry by paying low monthly wages such as 100,000 won (US$91) for an apprentice, 300,000 won for an intern, and less than minimum wage for a full-timer.”
“Last year, the Council of Fashion Designers in Korea, led by its chairman Lee, established the ‘Designers of the Year Award,’ a citation of the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, which inspired this award ceremony.”
- Fashion Trade Union & Youth Community Union
SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Korea Bizwire) – Lee Sang-bong, chairperson of the Council of Fashion Designers in Korea, was selected as the biggest exploiter of youth labor forces in the fashion industry.
The Fashion Trade Union and Youth Community Union held a ceremony for the “Awards for Youth Exploitation 2014” at Gwanghwamun Square in downtown Seoul, on January 7. According to the organizers, Lee topped the other four owner fashion designers who are known to exploit young fashion designers in an Internet poll held last week. In the voting, 111 Internet users participated, and Lee earned 59 votes (multiple voting was allowed.)
According to a tip-off, the monthly wages of his designers were 100,000 won for an apprentice, 300,000 won for an intern and 1,100,000-1,130,000 won for a full-timer. Their working hours are typically from 9am to 8pm, and the wages include overtime payments. The employment contract stipulates that employees are not allowed to divulge their respective wages to others.
If the tip-off proves to be correct, Lee would be violating the Minimum Wage Act and the Labor Standards Act.
At the award ceremony, an interview of a female intern at a fashion design company was released. The 26-year-old female worker said, “As an intern, I tried my best to learn the work processes in the company, but I was exhausted soon with various tasks including cleaning, sales and acting as a private secretary. I was deeply hurt when I was thrown out of the company saying I was ill and useless.”
The organizers sent the citation and flowers to Lee’s office after the ceremony.
By John Choi (firstname.lastname@example.org)