SEOUL, May 31 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean online shopping giant Coupang is facing criticism over massive staff cuts in the wake of allegations of labor rights abuses that emerged yesterday.
Coupang is widely known for its next day delivery service dubbed “Rocket Delivery”, but despite the popular policy that ships all items ordered before midnight the next day, the company suffered a crippling loss of 520 billion won last year and many critics argue the company’s aggressive expansion is backfiring.
Reports of internal conflict between the inner circles of the company and the contract workers widely known as ‘Coupang men’ had already been circulating prior to Tuesday, when a Changwon-based delivery person named Kang Byung-jun submitted a petition at Gwanghwamun 1st Street, a new communications channel to the government located near the Blue House, on behalf of 75 previous and currently employed employees of the South Korean retail company.
Kang, who has claimed to belong to a group known as the Coupang Emergency Response Committee, said in the petition that from February to April, more than 200 employees were fired, accounting for nearly a tenth of the company’s 2,237 delivery workers.
He also argued that the average length of employment for workers at the company was only 10.4 months.
“Around March of this year, one delivery worker who had the best performance record in the Changwon region was laid off all of a sudden. The next day, he wasn’t allowed to return to work,” Kang wrote in his petition, accusing the online shopping giant of unfair dismissal.
Coupang has since hit back, saying Kang’s claim is a far cry from the truth.
According to company policy, the so called Coupang men sign 6-month contracts that depend on their assessment in safety, delivery accuracy and timeliness as well as customer satisfaction.
“Delivery people who have worked more than a year at Coupang go on to become full-time employees. Apart from those who worked for a short period of time before quitting, between 60 to 70 percent of the delivery workers become permanent employees at our company,” a Coupang official said.
Hyunsu Yim (email@example.com)