KHMU(The Korean Health and Medical Workers’ Union) addresses the Press Conference (Aug. 21, 2018) on collective labor dispute mediation
A total of 73 hospitals submitted an application for the first round of collective labor dispute mediation and scheduled to strike on September 5.
Presenting a draft proposal to create 25,000 new high quality jobs in healthcare industry
Urging the establishment of a tripartite committee and employer group in the health care industry for industrial bargaining, opposing the medical privatization bill
The Korean Health and Medical Workers’ Union (KHMU, President Na Sun-Ja) held a press conference at 10:30 am on August 21 and announced that 73 hospitals are going to join the first collective labor dispute mediation. As management and labor did not successfully conclude a collective bargaining agreement over wages in 2018, 55 hospitals joined the first collective labor dispute mediation on August 20. An additional 18 hospitals will enter the first round of collective labor dispute mediation on Monday, August 27.
President Na emphasized that, “According to a survey of KHMU’s union members in 2018, 72% of the respondents are willing to leave their current jobs, showing that it is necessary to improve working conditions. Though KHMU has successfully achieved its normal working hours of a maximum 40 hours per week with a five-days-a-week system through industrial bargaining and a general strike in 2004, actual working hours are increasing every year. As overtime work is ‘free labor’ that is not properly counted in their paycheck, we must eradicate free labor this year.”
President Na also said, "Last week, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) decided to return to social dialogue and to organize a tripartite committee for the healthcare industry, so employers of the hospitals are expected to form an employer group to participate in tripartite meetings." President Na also highlighted that if the government is promoting a medical privatization policy like the previous administration, it will launch a strong campaign against the policy in alliance with the civil society.
KHMU announced in a press conference that it will fight to create jobs, form an employer group, and prevent medical privatization. If an agreement is not made during the 15-day mediation, KHMU will run into a general strike on September 5.
The main reason KHMU requested a collective dispute mediation was to improve poor working conditions and create decent jobs in the health care industry.
Under the circumstances, KHMU has raised the issue of workforce expansion as a key requirement to improve poor working conditions. Details of the requirements are as follows: ▲ Eliminating overtime work ▲ Limiting a working week to a maximum of 52 hours and shortening actual working hours ▲ Preventing bullying and improving poor working conditions by hiring experienced senior nurses dedicated to train newly hired nurses and creating decent jobs in the health care industry. According to the healthcare union's estimates, improving poor working conditions requires additional hires. Fifteen thousand six hundred additional hires would eliminate overtime work of inpatient ward nurses, 4,260 additional hires would allow hospitals to comply with the 52 hours per week ceiling, and 4,200 additional hires of experienced senior nurses would be dedicated to train newly hired nurses. Accordingly, a total of 24,606 jobs must be created.
① Job creation to solve inpatient ward nurse overtime work: a total of 15,600
② Job creation to comply with the maximum workweek of 52 hours: A total of 4,260 (1,260 nurses for tertiary hospitals, 3,000 nurses for general hospitals with more than 300 beds)
③ Job Creation by securing senior nurses to train new nurses: A total of 4,200 (1,500 nurses for tertiary hospitals, 2,700 nurses for general hospitals with more than 300 beds)
KHMU urged three tripartite factions to start a social dialogue to find and create solutions for sufficient decent jobs in the healthcare industry.
During the 15-day labor dispute mediation, KHMU will do its best to reach an amicable settlement regarding the core requirements as follows: ▲ Eliminating of free labor and shortening working hours ▲ Increasing a staffing level to limit working hours to 52 hours per week ▲ Hiring senior nurse staff to train new registered nurses ▲ Improving the night shift work system ▲ Transitioning to regular workers from irregular workers▲ Establishing the Healthcare Personnel Act ▲ Improving the evaluation system of medical institutions ▲ Normalizing industrial bargaining ▲ 7.1% increase in total wages
However, if an amicable settlement is not achieved, KHMU will take the following measures during a 15 day dispute mediation. ▲ Report the results of the mediation by organizing a conference ▲ Vote on the strikes ▲ Stage a sit-in in hospitals’ lobby ▲ Visit the hospital director’s office in protest ▲ Publicize the demands of industrial bargaining, using media. If the agreement is not concluded, the hospitals that sought the dispute settlement on August 20 will go on a general strike at 7:00 am on September 5, while hospitals involved in the dispute mediation on August 27 will go on a general strike at 07:00 am on the 12th.
Branches that have not joined the first round of collective labor dispute mediation will begin the second round of labor dispute mediation on October 1, taking into account the progress of the negotiation and the Chuseok holidays.
KHMU defines the goal of this year's negotiations as "Decent Job Creation in the Healthcare Industry", "Making Patient Safe and Respecting Workers" and will devote all its strength to improve the working environment and create more decent jobs.