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Name  
   MTU이주노조 
Subject  
   ILO 총회 시 민주노총이 이주노동자 차별 관련 발언할 내용
이주노동자 차별 관련 발언할 내용

The KCTU is gravely concern that the South Korean Employment Permit System (EPS) leads to severe discrimination against migrant workers. In its past observations regarding the EPS the Committee of Experts has noted that “a system of employment of migrant workers [which]… provides employers with the opportunity to exert disproportionate power over them [can] result in discrimination” and has asked that the EPS be kept “under review with a view to further decreasing the level of dependency of migrant workers in relation to their employers.”

Two problematic points of EPS are its prohibition on workers changing workplaces unless there has been a documented labor law violation or the employer gives consent and the restriction on the number of times they can change even in such cases. As the Committee of Experts noted in its 2008 report, this inflexibility makes migrant workers vulnerable to discrimination and abuse. In addition, the Committee noted, “Migrant workers suffering such treatment may refrain from bringing complaints out of fear of retaliation by the employer” although “bringing a complaint [is] necessary… to establish that the employer has violated the contract or legislation, which is a requirement for being granted permission to change the workplace.”

To deal with these problems the ILO should recommend that migrant workers’ be given the right to change their employers freely and that the restrictions on the number of times they can change be eliminated.

In addition, if a migrant worker leaves one employer he/she is only given two months to find a new workplace. This forces migrant workers to sign new contracts quickly without adequate time to assess labor conditions. This is a severe restriction on the right to choose employment freely. The ILO should therefore recommend that the restriction on the length of time for finding new work be abolished.

Another problematic part of EPS is the short 3-year residence period and the requirement that a migrant worker have his/her employer’s invitation in order to stay for a second 3-year term. Employers often use the promise of rehiring workers as a means to force them to accept all kinds of injustice such as forfeiting severance or overtime pay. To eliminate this abuse, the ILC should recommend that migrant workers be allowed to work for a term of five years with the possibility of extending the time once the term is completed.

Furthermore, the South Korean government is currently attempting to revise the minimum wage law so that housing and food costs, which employers cover, would be included in the calculation of minimum wage. If this comes to pass the amount will be deducted from migrant workers' wages. Separate from this proposed revision, the Korean Federation of Small and Medium Businesses has given a directive to its member companies to subtract from 700,000won to 1,800,000won a month (8% to 20% of minimum wage) from migrant workers salaries for food and housing. The ILO should recommend that food and housing costs not be subtracted from migrant workers’ wages.

Finally, we are gravely concerned that the government’s refusal to register the Migrants Trade Union and its repeated arrest and deportation of union leaders denies migrant workers their right to form and participate in a trade union of their choosing. The government has used the fact that MTU was formed primarily by undocumented migrant workers as justification for its denial of MTU’s status. However, in its recent recommendation on this case the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association recalled “that when examining legislation that denies the right to organize to migrant workers in an irregular situation – a situation maintained de facto in [the MTU] case – it has emphasized that all workers, with the sole exception of the armed forces and the police, are covered by Convention No. 87” and therefore requested “the Government to take the terms of Article 2 of Convention No. 87 into account in the legislation in question.”  Moreover, the Committee recommended to the “Government to avoid… measures which involve a risk of serious interference with trade union activities such as the arrest and deportation of trade union leaders shortly after their election to trade union office...”        
Equal rights with regards to freedom of association are of vital importance to ensure equal opportunity with respect to employment and occupation. The ILO should therefore recommend that the Government stop its targeting of MTU leaders and grant MTU’s legal union status, in accordance with the comments of the Committee on Freedom of Association.

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