The IUF-affiliated Korean Women’s Trade Union (KWTU) has joined with two other Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) affiliates to create the National Council of Irregular Workers at Schools. On June 23 the Council mobilized 6,000 workers, demanding direct permanent employment and fairer wages at education offices across Seoul. Their basic salary currently remains constant regardless of years served and has led to a growing wage gap between them and permanent workers.
Three union presidents, including Sister Hwang Young Mi of KWTU, declared: “Irregular workers at schools play an important role in the education system, sharing responsibility for the future of this country and should no longer be ‘ghosts’ in the workplace.” The Council has entered into the first ever negotiations with several education superintendents. The unions are conducting a strike vote and strike action might follow if similar negotiations at all 16 education offices do not commence.