We, civic groups and human rights groups for migrant workers in Korea denounce new foreign manpower policy itself is going back to Industrial Trainee System (ITS). According to the recent reports, Korean government proceeds on recruiting agencies such as KFSB (Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business), CAK (Construction Association of Korea), NACF (National Agricultural Cooperative Federation), and NFFC (National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative) to enroll in all the process of recruiting, distributing and counseling migrant workers under the EPS.
Those interest groups have played major roll violating migrant worker’s human rights and labor rights as well as retaining venal practices under ITS, which is called “the Modern Slavery”.
Their inhumane and venal practices are well known to Korean society. Particularly in case of KFSB, it has been given more than millions dollars every year for the name of counseling and supporting migrant workers, however it was revealed that it has done almost nothing except answering tens of phone calls a year. Whenever suspicion raised, it retained to blame the branches and denied their responsibility. Also there were the cases several high officers were accused of appropriating the fund in the process of recruiting migrant workers. Besides, it was revealed that CAK has run forced-savings policy for migrant workers to prevent from changing workplaces.
Thus those interest groups have focused on not migrant workers, but the profit under ITS. What they have done till now is serious extraction and oppression on migrant workers.
Finally Korean government introduced EPS to protect migrant’s human rights and labor rights, to establish efficient employment management system for migrant workers in 2003. However there have existed serious problems under EPS, such as violation of human rights and labor rights because of restricted provision to change workplaces and coexistence with ITS.
Nevertheless Korean government announced to plan to put those interest groups into EPS, even grant them the right to conduct certain works instead of government under EPS from the time when Korean foreign manpower system to be united EPS and abolished ITS, on Jan. 1 next year.
The Office for Government Policy Coordination which is in charge of the prime minister, leads to guarantee the interest groups’ profit by granting recruiting processing and education program to counseling and supporting for migrant workers. It definitely makes those interest groups profit stable by collecting the fees from employers and migrant workers.
We strongly denounced it violates the principle which purposes for protection migrant workers’ labor rights and excluding private sector, particularly those interest groups.
We raise suspicion that the government intends to guarantee the interest groups’ profit, and it can bring back “the 2nd Modern Slavery.”
Civic groups and labor organizations have collaborated and organized “Joint Action Group against enrollment of the interest groups into EPS“ and called for immediate stopping immoral administrative practices and establishing countermeasure for protecting for migrant workers’ labor rights and excluding the private interest groups in the process of EPS at all. Despite of our constant urging, the government does not change its position rather seems to intend to be a spokesman for those interest groups during the hearing on Oct 2.
We, civic groups and human rights groups for migrant workers, strongly denounce irresponsibility and inability of the government and we will struggle till coming to an end of ITS and those interest groups.
We, “Joint Action Group against enrollment of the interest groups into EPS“call for:
- Stop illicit decision-making process of nomination on the interest groups, particularly KFSB under EPS.
- Withdraw nomination the interest group such as KFSB for the agencies under EPS
- Establish the policy ensuring migrant workers’ human rights and labor rights.
November 7, 2006
Joint Action Group against enrollment of the interest groups into EPS