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“Under what conditions are hospital workers working in Korea, 2007?”

 

Working hours increase and job satisfaction degeneracy giving rise to concerns over the deterioration in quality of medical service.

 

‘Make good hospital, both patients and staffs satisfied with’ needs a fundamental reform to the low wages, the personnel policy including non-regular employees policies, the working types and the organisation cultures, etc.

 

O Average working conditions of hospital workers

 

Age

Seniority(yr)

Family members

Total wages (Won/yr)

Weekly working hours

Average

33.18

8.65

2.97

3157.73

45.31

 

O Female/male ratio is overwhelmingly women dominating, 80.2%. By job classification, nurses are 52%, medical engineers 16% and nursing assistants 10%. As for education level, 82.1% are university graduates (including college graduates). As far as working types are concerned, 58.0% are shift working, 38% in 3 shifts and 11% in two shifts. 44% are not married.

 

O In case of hospitals covered by the Health and Medical Workers’ Union, the non-regular employees are around 20%, direct employed non-regular 11.3% and indirect employed 8.7%.

 

O According to the ‘Additional Survey to Economically Active Population Census’ conducted August 2006 by the Statistics Office, total number of the employees in health related industries is 508,000, among which 163,000 (32.1%) are non-regular and 345,000 (67.9%) are regular. One third of the workers in health industries is non-regular workers.

 

O The wages of non-regular workers (direct employed) are 59.5% of those of the regular workers and what is worse the indirect employed non-regular workers’ are no more than 44.9% of those of the regular workers.

 

O Regular workers support “non-regular workers’ obtaining regular status after certain period of employment”(79%), “specifying employment succession on changes of subcontractors”(69.3%), “the non-regular workers’ joining the union”(61.2%).

 

O Despite the extensive implementation of weekly 5 working days, the working hours have been increasing consecutively for the recent 3 years (averagely 45.3 hours per week).

 

O Only 22% of the respondents agree to “improvement in the quality of medical service after the weekly 5 working day system”.

 

O As a whole satisfaction level with the workplace is low, for example, 79% dissatisfied with personnel policy, 76% dissatisfied with welfares, 72% dissatisfied with workload.

 

< General briefs on the survey results>

 

O How much are the staffs with white gowns working at the hospitals paid and how many hours do they work? To what extent are they satisfied with their job and how about the working environments? What is the ratio of non-regular workers, the recent debating social issue, there and how much are they discriminated? To solve these curiosity, every year the Health and Medical Workers’ Union conducts a survey on the members (including non-regular employees) of all the hospitals under its coverage and publishes the results. This year the survey results are published officially on the 10th of August, delayed more or less for the union’s struggle on the first half industry wide negotiation.

 

O A peculiar thing at this publication of the survey result is that a regular book was published with the title of “Survey Report on the Actual Conditions of Health and Medical Workers in 2007” through publishing company registration. In March the KHMWU registered a publishing company for the purpose of strengthening the activities for union policies and publicities and the company has published two books: ‘Alternative Job Analysis’ and ‘CBA of CNA, USA‘(translation), which are on sale through an Internet bookshop, Aladdin.

 

Analysis of Answers to Questionnaire, 17,128 workers from 79 hospitals replied,

 

O The KHMWU conducted a survey on the actual working conditions and consciousness of the employees (whether union members or not) at the hospitals for a month in the first half of this year, to which 17,128 persons from 79 union branches replied. The KHMWU analyzed the replies and published the result in a book, “Report of Survey on the Actual Conditions of Health and Medical Workers in 2007”.

 

O According to the survey, the average age of the workers at the KHMWU rgnising hospitals is 33.2 year old and the male and female ratio is 19.8:80.2. The average service period is 8.6 years (6.69 years of nurses, 9.94 years of operators) and the family members are 2.95 persons.

 

O The employment types are nurses 52%, operators 16%, nursing assistants 10%. 82.1% is university(including college) graduates. 58% do shift work (38% in 3 shifts and 11% in 2 shifts).

 

O The working hours are averagely 45.3 hours per week, 5.3 hours overtime work every week, which indicates that the working hours have been increasing in comparison with 45.13 hours in 2005 and 45.2 hours in 2006. This is probably because personnel recruitment has not been made while the weekly 5 working days have been extensively implemented every year, which leads to increase of overtime work. In relation with this, ‘personnel recruitment for full execution of weekly 5 days working system’ is regarded as the most important issue (33.3%) at the industrial negotiation in 2007 and actually the agreements on the personnel recruitment follow in succession in addition to the clauses on the non-regular employees’ transfer to regular status.

 

O According to the report, 50% of the respondents answered, as to the workload and working conditions related questions, that the workload has been strengthened as manpower per duty is reduced. 35% answered the working conditions have been worsened by the transformed or distorted working. This means that the workload and working conditions have been deteriorated due to the unchanged manpower shortage in spite of the implementation of the weekly 5 working day system.

 

O In case of the leisure and living quality related items, 30% of respondents answered actual weekly working hours have been decreasing and 25% answered that the leisure time has increased and the living quality has been improved owing to the increase of weekly rest and holidays. It reveals that the weekly 5 day working system has a meager effect on the improvement of living quality and leisure life. Only 22% replied that the quality of medical service for patients has been improved since the execution of weekly 5 day working system and 56% answered there was no change.

 

More than 3/4 are dissatisfied with the personnel policy, welfare system and working environment of their hospitals.

 

O Job satisfaction degree was measured in the aspects of wages level, working hours, workload, working environments, employment security, welfare system, personnel policy and work effects. Generally dissatisfaction degree is higher than satisfaction degree. In particular, the answers saying dissatisfaction with the personnel policy reaches to 79%. The rate of negative answers (very dissatisfied, dissatisfied, slightly dissatisfied) as to each question is very high excluding the question ‘work effects’; 70% to wages level, 60% to working hours, 72% to workload, 76% to working environment, 71% to safety and health, 60% to employment security, 76% to welfare, 79% to personnel policy. It seems that these dissatisfactions at the workplaces have been the principal background of the large and small scale strikes that took place more often at the hospitals every year than any other sectors.

 

Average wages are 2.63 million won (before tax) and non-regular workers’ wages are no more than 59.5% of the regular workers’.

 

O Annual wages before tax are 31.577 million won (monthly 2.631 million won), 5.6% rise compared to the last year. The monthly wages of regular employees’ are 32.46 mil, those of the direct employed non-regular are 19.33 mil, which is no more than 59.5% of the regular’s when simply compared with average data, and those of the indirect employed non-regular are 14,6 mil, which is no more than 44.9% of the regular’s. When viewed by facility nature, the wages at the private small and medium sized hospital are 24.88 mil, which is 74.6% of the wages at the private university hospitals, 33.31 mil. The wage level of the local medical centres, though the same nature as public hospitals, is greatly low compared to the special duty assigned public hospitals and national university hospitals. Furthermore, regression analysis shows that women workers are paid 256,000 won less than male workers at the equal work.

 

O For reference, the survey on actual conditions of organisation conducted separately by the KHMWU reveals that the percentage of non-regular employees is 20% out of the total employees, direct employed non-regular 11.3% and indirect employed non-regular 8.7%. This data, however, is calculated from the hospitals unionized, so the percentage of non-regular employees at the whole hospitals regardless of union existence would be higher. According to the ‘Additional Survey to Economically Active Population Census’ conducted in August 2006 by the Statistics Office, total number of the employees in health related industries is 483,000. When 25,000 workers, the dispatched workers and subcontract workers at the health related sectors, who are classified into the employees at business assisting service sector, are included, it makes total 508,000. This figure is two times more than that of 1993, 240,000. Dividing by undertaking size as of 2005, 110,000(21.8%) are employed at the undertakings employing less than 5 persons, 270,000(53.3%) are in those less than 50 persons, 120,000(22.9%) are in those less than 500 and 190,000(37.3%) are in those more than 100 persons. Among this, non-regular workers are 163,000 (32.1%) and regular workers are 345,000(67.9%), which makes that one third of workers at health related industries is non-regular workers. Looking into the data by employment types, out of the whole 163,000 non-regular workers, casual work assumes absolute majority, 161,000 (temporary 84,000, long term temporary 77,000). Next follows subcontract workers(24,000) and short hour workers(5,000), most of whom are treated as casual workers at the same time.

 

<Percentage of non-regular workers at the KHMWU organising hospitals>

 

 

Total No. of employees (59,067)

regular

Direct employed regular

Indirect employed non-regular

Public (Korea Veterans Welfare & Health Care Corporation, Korea Institute of Radiological & Medical Sciences)

3,122

351

203

Public (national universities)

4,078

974

801

Public (Korea Red Cross)

2,600

600

150

Public (Local Government Invested Medical Centers)

4,286

683

325

Medical Centers (Hospitals) of Private Universities

24,000

3,118

2,287

Private medium and small size Hospitals

9,116

988

845

Total

47,202

6,714

5,151

Percentage

80%

11.3%

8,7%

 

O Industrial negotiation at health and medical service sector in 2007, however, labour and management agreed that a fixed amount of increased wages of regular employees should be used to eliminate the wage difference between regular employees and non-regular employees and to convert the non-regular employees to regular status. Based on the agreement, negotiations for details at workplace level are progressing and the final conclusion in late August would result in far less ratio of non-regular employees and considerable solution of discrimination based on employment types. The hospital sector, the non-regular expansion policy being checked with the moment of 2007 industrial negotiation, is expected to change its manpower structure to regular employees dominated.

 

79.0% support “the need to convert the continuously employed non-regular employees to regular status”.

 

O With regard to the KHMWU policy on the non-regular employees, the majority of respondents, 79%, supported the opinion that the continuously employed non-regular employees should be converted to regular status. Besides, 69.3% supported the opinion that the clause on the obligation of employment succession at the change of contractors should be included in the contract. 61.2% supported the opinion that non-regular workers should be organised in the union branch at the workplace. The regular workers’ solidarity and consciousness on equality seemed to enable the labour and management at this industrial negotiation to agree on the use of a certain amount of increased wages of regular employees for correcting the discrimination and converting non-regular employees to regular status.

 

KHMWU registered a publishing agent and has published 3 books – open a new area of union’s policy activities

 

O In March the KHMWU registered a publishing company for the purpose of strengthening the activities for union policies and publicities, and the company has published three books as below to be sold through an Internet bookshop, Aladdin.

 

1) Alternative Job Analysis (For Personnel Recruitment at Hospitals), written by Hwang Jong-Il: Research report on union’s strategy after reviewing the concepts and various types of job analysis and personnel planning that assume a large part on the policy on personnel affairs and job careers.

2) Collective Bargaining Agreement of CNA, translated by Shin, Eun-cheol: Fully translated edition of the CBA signed between the California Nurse Association, which has 750,000 membership, and the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and the Permanente Medical Group.

3) Survey Report on Actual Conditions of Workers at Health and Medical Service Sector in 2007 (Survey on Wages, Collective Bargaining Agreements and Consciousness): Survey Report on the working conditions of 17,000 hospital workers at the KHMWU organising hospitals.

<Forthcoming Publication – 4th book> A check of new personnel policy and evaluation system at hospitals and union’s countermeasures (working title): In early September will be published a report that contains analysis of current situations and explanation concerning new managing strategy and new personnel policy recently being extended to hospitals, and union’s countermeasures.

 

<Attachment> Survey Report on the Actual Conditions of Workers at Health and Medical Service Industries (Summary)

 

This new release is also listed on the KHMWU’s Internet Homepage (http://bogun.nodong.org/english), Policy & Issue  page.

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