Welcoming Remarks at the Appointment Ceremony for the “Honorary Citizen Labor Ombudsmen”
Date: April 13, 2012
Venue: Conference Hall, Seosomun Building, Seoul City Hall
For the past several days, flowers have begun blossoming and the leaves on trees are just about to emerge from their buds. I cannot but appreciate the blossoming flowers, and I really want to touch the newly formed leaves. On such a beautiful day, I am grateful to see so many brightly smiling faces, the faces of those who are to be appointed as “Honorary Citizen Labor Ombudsmen,” tasked with helping laborers in need in Seoul. Especially, I am grateful that Professor Ha Jong-kang could make time to participate in this event.
Seoul is home to 10 million citizens. Among them—based on last August’s statistics—are approximately 3.88 million laborers, of whom roughly 1.31 million work on an irregular basis, accounting for 33.7 percent of all laborers in Seoul. From these statistics, you will probably understand why the Seoul Metropolitan Government has to step up its efforts to protect worker’s rights.
However, the Seoul Metropolitan Government alone cannot protect the rights of Seoul’s workers. It requires the full attention and participation of the city’s 10 million citizens in close collaboration with the Seoul Metropolitan Government. When it comes to diverse labor issues—especially those of laborers who work in small, insecure workplaces—the individuals concerned cannot resolve such issues on their own. Therefore, we need experts and friends who can work together and deliver these workers’ stories to the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Those experts are you, and you will be a good friend to Seoul’s laborers for the next two years.
The Honorary Citizen Labor Ombudsmen initiative is the first such system operated by the Seoul Metropolitan Government in Korea. You will become the first participants as well as the first friends of our laborers.
In order to translate your genuine friendship into action and ensure that your dedication leads to tangible results, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will do its best to support you.
I thank you for your support with all of my heart.