Opening Ceremony of the Seoul Labor Center
Date February 24th, 2015 | Venue Seoul Labor Center
It is a great pleasure to be here today. I am the mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon. I would like to extend my sincere congratulations on the opening of the Seoul Labor Center. I am confident that from today, the future of workers of Seoul will be brightened.
Labor is the source of our lives and the root of our society. Thanks to workers who were working silently yet with determination in every corner of the society, our society was able to develop and maintain the status it has reached today. Sound labor makes citizens happy, and therefore makes Seoul happy.
However, the situation of labor in Seoul, in reality, is not so positive today. One in three workers is in a temporary position, and the wages of 220 thousand workers do not even reach the minimum wage. Jobs for youth and the aged are also becoming increasingly insecure and low paying.
To improve this regrettable situation, the Seoul Metropolitan Government adopted the concept of the “labor administration” and established Labor Policy Division (2012), the first of its kind among local governments in Korea. We have switched 5,625 temporary positions to regular positions in the public sector and will switch another 1,700 positions to regular ones by 2018. To guarantee workers’ lives with dignity, we plan to implement a “Seoul-type Living Wage System” in consideration of the cost of living in Seoul starting this year. In addition, we are developing labor policies distinguished from the national government and specialized to Seoul. We are also establishing a “Seoul Labor Policy Master Plan,” focused on creating a leading model of labor policies for local governments, and spreading it to the private sector. For example, we will establish worker protection guidelines to be used as the guideline to protect the working conditions of workers in the public sector and in other vulnerable situations. This series of plans will be implemented based on professional surveys and policy research on workers conducted by the Seoul Labor Center.
Now, Seoul has just laid another steppingstone to allow us to leap beyond being a business-friendly city towards being a labor-friendly city. I hope the Seoul Labor Center will be the engine to build a Seoul where citizens who work for a living are happy, a Seoul of coexistence, where labor and management grow together, and a Seoul where labor is respected. I hope that the Seoul Labor Center will protect the rights of vulnerable workers and give a huge amount of energy to improving welfare in order to protect the value of humane and beautiful labor, becoming a partner of labor that leads to a happy life with proper rewards. Thank you very much.