A Wall of Perception Blocking Your Eyes

A wall of perception blocking your eyes 

 Song Min-ju

Mung, a Burmese, entered the country under the Employment Permit System at the end of October 2009 and worked at a furniture factory in Gimpo. In a furniture factory, Mung was tasked with repeating the process of raising and lowering wood on a press. As the repetitive work continued, Mung’s neck and shoulders were inevitably strained. After working at the factory for about a month, his neck and shoulders began to hurt, but as two Thai workers who worked together were forced to leave the country earlier this year due to a crackdown at the immigration office, Mung’s work was inevitably aggravated. Mung told the business owner that he was ill and wanted to go to the hospital, but the business owner did not understand Mung, who was not good at Korean.
After surviving for several months, it was not until the end of January of this year that Mung and his friend visited the hospital in Bucheon. The hospital told Mung that he needed an MRI for an accurate diagnosis. However, Mung, who was delayed because he did not receive his salary on time, was unable to pay 350,000 won, the cost of an MRI scan. Returning to the factory, Mung asked the employer for overdue salary and health insurance for treatment, but the employer refused.

Mung, who visited the center under this circumstance, first received treatment at a low cost through a nearby hospital that he visited through the introduction of the center. The hospital diagnosed Mung with a sprain in the neck that required two weeks of recuperation. Afterwards, the center informed the business owner of Mung’s diagnosis results, but the business owner only said absurdly that Mung was sick because of his right hand, which was already uncomfortable before working at the factory. In addition, the employer did not want to hire Mung because of his right hand disability, but the job was urgent, and if there was a problem later and it was difficult to continue hiring, he reported to the Immigration Office and said without hesitation that it would be the end of leaving Mung to Burma.
The center contacted the competent employment support center to investigate Mung’s non-compliance with health insurance or the company’s non-fulfillment of obligations such as delayed payment of benefits, and requested a change of authority due to illness or injury. However, the person in charge of the Employment Support Center said that the issue of not having health insurance is within the scope of the Health Insurance Corporation, and the issue of delayed payment is within the scope of the local labor office. , said that it was unacceptable because Mung was responsible for the situation.

Under these circumstances, the business owner did not provide meals or treatment opportunities to Mung, who was almost confined to the dormitory. In addition, the person in charge of the Gimpo Employment Support Center notified the center by phone that the employer reported the departure of Mr. Mung. When I asked the person in charge at the center, ‘Is it okay to leave the dormitory because you are sick?’ In the end, Mung was forced to say that he would return to work at the workplace due to such coercion. In
this situation, migrant workers do not have to attach unnecessary reasons to assert their legitimate rights, and they do not need to be harassed by the employer who is infringing on their labor rights. There was a question as to whether a system that did not have to be adapted could be created in this country. The employment support center, which has strong authority over migrant workers, takes the lead in representing the employers’ position. It’s not just the job center. In organizations that have close relations with migrant workers, such as the Immigration Office and the Labor Office, there is still a ‘view that does not view migrant workers as human beings’. I am trying to fix this gaze, but I often cry in front of the wall of perception that blocks my eyes.
And above all else, Mung’s case can be said to show the loopholes in the system regarding the health rights of migrant workers. Migrant workers cannot easily change their workplace even if they want to change their workplace due to illness, there is no proper countermeasure even if the employer does not comply with the obligation to subscribe to health insurance, and even if the employer does not grant a medical treatment period to the worker, instead of punishing the employer, instead of punishing the employer, it is the responsibility of the worker. It intensively showed the problems of the system to create. Migrant workers’ right to work and health are struggling under the ’employment permit system’.

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