SEOUL, Dec. 27 (Korea Bizwire) – More than 4,100 bakers at Paris Baguette, South Korea’s largest bakery franchise, have opted not to be directly hired by the franchise operator SPC Group in a snub to the government.
The Ministry of Employment and Labor has said SPC Group should directly hire bakers, saying that the food and beverage giant violated the country’s labor laws in connection with the hiring conditions of more than 5,300 bakers and cafe workers at its franchise stores.
The bakery chain has been accused of giving direct work orders, such as recipe training, to outsourced workers with job contracts with its hiring-related subcontractors, a practice the ministry said is illegal.
Still, 3,722 out of 5,309 bakers – who are subject to the government’s direct employment order — have signed the agreement to work under a joint venture that SPC Group recently established with its franchisees and subcontractors to address the issue. Another 430 new employees for its cafes and bakeries also joined the new venture.
The bakery chain operator has maintained that it is impossible to hire all of the workers on its own.
The number of workers who have not signed to work under the new joint venture stands at 1,097, SPC said.
“Since the launch of our joint venture on Dec. 1, it became the largest baker-related hiring firm in the country,” SPC said. “Though we still have a long way to go, we will try to achieve bigger social consensus through active talks and persuasion.”
The fine on the bakery chain was originally estimated at 53 billion won (US$48.75 million) — 10 million won per employee — but the government said it will not levy the penalty for those workers who have opposed directhiring by Paris Baguette.