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The 126th year of International Workers’ Day Statement

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Writer Jogye Date05 May 2016 Read12,174 Comment0


The 126th year of International Workers’ Day Statement
of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism


The structural adjustment forcing heavy sacrifices to laborers should stop. At the news of tens of thousands of workers in shipbuilding industry soon to be fired by the structural adjustment program, people feel dreadful, nervous and outrageous.

We workers have been experiencing mass layoff, bankruptcy of family, high suicidal rate of workers, witnessing the death of fellow workers during strikes since the involvement of IMF in 1998. It is because structural adjustment programs have never been an innovative solution but a knife to cut off laborers massively while propping up companies through the bank money, keeping lax management, nepotism and corruption as they are.

While all in the managerial level secure their wealth through such ways as keeping high salaries and disposing of stocks, the workers, especially those temporary, contract and subcontract-based ones, who have no other ways but the company are to be abandoned soon without proper treatment and compensation.

The government and politicians try to pacify by mentioning the social safety net but there is nothing proven concretely and practically helpful to workers. Meanwhile, more and more subcontracting firms go bankrupt and their workers receive no salaries as a result.  

The social affairs and labor relations committee demand the government and relevant organizations should reveal the facts around shipbuilding industry to the public and provide other solutions than structural adjustment by discussing with objective and fair experts in this field. Currently the media does not show the entire picture, but a small fraction of it thereby preventing the public from taking this issue as seriously as they should. It is an uncivilized, violent and cruel way of management to hire workers temporarily at lowest wages and to fire them easily anytime whenever companies want.

All workers themselves should take this issue as their own ones, not taking this massive layoff as fate, not just leaving it only to the hands of those workers directly involved. Only when every worker can take it as seriously as those directly involved and unite and show solidarity for their fellow workers, we can find the way to the better solution more quickly.    

Without workers, no company can be operated. Workers and companies are interdependent like wagon wheels. Keeping this perspective in mind, the corporation, government and politicians should have infinite responsibility for this massive layoff. Without the revolutionary improvement on corruption, evasion of social and ethical accountability, unfair accumulation of capital of conglomerates, this massive layoff regularly happening won't be stopped. Neither the democratization of economy and welfare state can be realized.

 Korea ranks below 100 for happiness and boasts high unemployment rate, low birth rate and high suicidal rate among all the countries in the world. The social affairs and labor relations committee strongly urges the government and the company to take a more cautious structural adjustment that does not force the heavy sacrifice of laborers unilaterally but that holds the company responsible first and requests all members to yield, sacrifice, and endure together to overcome difficult times together in unity and solidarity.  


29 April 2016

The Social Affairs and Labor Relations Committee

The Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism

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