News & Statements

Settlement Reached on Measures in Response to Death of Kim Yong-gyun - Struggle goes on



Today, Feb. 5 (lunar new years), the South Korean government announced measures in response to the industrial death of Kim Yong-gyun, a 24-year-old power plant worker, killed 58 days ago in a tragic accident resulting from the outsourcing of danger and lack of safety measures at Taean Power Plant.
Korea Western Power Co. and Korea Engineering & Power Service, the subcontractor that Kim was employed for have agreed to abide by the government's messures and in particular to cooperate with the special investigation into root causes (see below). They have also agreed to compensation measures and to ensure sufficient time off and a safe work environment for Kim's co-workers.

The government's measures include (rough translation):

1. Establishment of a Special Workplace Safety Investigation Committee to investigate the causes of Kim's death and come up with plans to prevent a reoccurance, including addressing structural and fundamental problems.

2. Increase workforce levels and ensure that work at power plant facilities is done in teams of two, with a clear means to respond to emergencies.
In the future, hold public institution heads accountable for grave industrial accidents that occur at their worksites, regardless of if they involve directly employed or subcontracted workers.

3. Timely transfer of power plant fueling and equipment operation workers like Kim to direct permanent employment by a public institution (power company subsidiary).
The exact means for this, including wages and working conditions to be discussed by a committee made up of , employer and expert members.

4. Establish a -employer-expert committee to establish measures on the employment of light maintenance power plant workers, which will make a detailed assessment of different tasks and develop specific plans aimed at reducing risk and improving expertise, working conditions and job stability in line with the principle of ending the outsourcing of danger.

5. Etablish and operate a taskforce on power plant industry safety and employment estability to ensure the execution of the above measures.

According to the agreements reached today, the KPTU and the civil society coalition held a press conference today to announce our position and the hunger strikers (in their 15 day) have broken their fast today. Kim's funeral will be held on Feb. 9.

The measure announced fall far short of the original demands of Kim's family, KPTU and the civil society coalition supporting the struggle, but they are a first step towards eradicating 'the outsourcing of danger', stopping the drive towards fragmentation and privatisation of the power industry and acheiving safe working conditions for power plant and all precarious workers. KPTU statement to be released shortly.