Automakers in Korea expressed their concerns over the government’s plan to turn temporary workers into permanent workers, claiming that the plan will have a negative effect on the flexibility of the local labor market.
At present, temporary workers account for 15% to 20% of their total employees. According to the South Korean Ministry of Employment & Labor, 10,207 out of 77,141 workers belonged to this type of workers in Hyundai Motor Company as of the end of March 2016. The number was 4,712 out of 38,940 in Kia Motors, 2,924 out of 18,975 in GM Korea, 842 out of 4,996 in Renault Samsung Motors and 893 out of 5,770 in Ssangyong Motors.
Those companies said that the government’s plan will lead to an increase in cost and a drop in efficiency, further exacerbating their business conditions, although they agree on the necessity of better working environments.
“It is not difficult to increase employment during an increase in production volume, but maintaining the employment when we are compelled to reduce it can be a problem,” one of them explained, continuing, “What should come first is the government’s assistance for us to maintain our employment in a recession period and measures related to regular employees for allowing easier manpower adjustment.” Another one of them echoed by saying, “In Europe, dismissal of employees can be easily done by companies, and thus a high ratio of regular employees can be easily accepted by them,” adding, “Things are different in South Korea, where a permanent position means lifetime employment in most cases.”