[labor news] Allegation of illegal use of Korean agency workers by Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction in the Philippines

Published by reposted only Date posted on October 31, 2017

기사승인 2017.10.31 13:29:50

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An allegation was raised that the Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction(HHIC) has practiced the illegal use of Korean subcontract workers at its Subic Shipyard in the Philippines(HHIC-PHIL Subic) for the past ten years.

Rep. Lee Yong-deok of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, a member of the parliamentary Environment and Labor Committee on October 30 unveiled the documents showing circumstantial evidences that HHIC has given work instructions to Korean subcontract workers dispatched to Subic Shipyard after making their employment contracts with a subcontractor company and HHIC has conducted the personnel management.

Since July 2008 up until May this year, HHIC has made ‘production technology support’ contracts with SHMP, a subcontractor company which supplies the agency workers and does the business in the shipbuilding and repair as well. SHMP workers were assigned as outsourced first-line supervisors at Subic Shipward.

The outsourced first-line supervisors who were dispatched by SHMP are then assigned to work in some 20~30 local companies established by HHIC. These workers had another employment contracts with the local companies. Local companies are subcontractor companies to HHIC on the paper, but corporate representatives of the local companies are the employees of HHIC.

The circumstantial evidences are strong that outsourced first-line supervisors worked directly under the work instructions by HHIC-Phil Subic, not by SHMP or local companies. According the information released by Rep. Lee, HHIC-Phil Subic sent outsourced first-line supervisors text messages through SNS, reading that “In recent, shipowners have become sensitive to the installation of scaffolding. First-line supervisors of each bay(processing part) must check the situation in person and make reports on the identified problems”. The HHIC managing director in charge of production used e-mails to send the company’s notice to the outsourced first-line supervisors. HHIC managers sent the work instructions on the matters of work days, off days and how many required for the extended work to the outsourced first-line supervisors through the communication of a Kakao group chat. Another document is also found that HHIC directly provided training programs to the outsourced first-line supervisors and evaluated their performance on the quarterly basis.

It seems that HHIC was conscious of the use of outsourced first-line supervisors as the illegal dispatch. In June 2015, a managing director in charge of personnel management at HHIC head office sent an e-mail message to the personnel management team at HHIC-Phil Subic in relation to the problem of a disciplinary action against an outsourced first-line supervisor, cautioning HHIC-Phil Subic that “The disciplinary action is the prerogative of Sushicor(one of local companies), therefore it is not a matter that HHIC-Phil Subic enforces or instructs”. He also added that “All e-mail communications between HHIC-Phil Subic and Sushicor should be deleted as they could be decisive evidences that HHIC-Phil Subic recognizes the illegal use of dispatched workers and is the employer of the worker concerned”(see the photo attached).

An outsourced first-line supervisor only identified with the surname of Oh(55-year-old) who had worked at Subic Shipyard up until May this year said that “I worked over ten years there, but I had never received any work-related instructions from SHMP or local companies”.

HHIC has terminated the contract with SHMP, citing the reduced order in HHIC-Phil Subic in May this year and made new contracts with two other subcontractor companies. In the process of SHMP closure, 24 first-line supervisors were dismissed, as they refused the early retirement or fixed-term employment contracts with new subcontractor companies. They applied the remedy for unfair dismissals with the Seoul Regional Labor Relations Commission, but the application was dismissed. They also filed the complaint with the Busan Regional Employment and Labor Office against HHIC and SHMP for the allegation of illegal use of the dispatched workers.

reported by Kim Hak-tae
translated by Kim Sung-jin
번역 김성진 goyong1472@gmail.com
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