“Is the Price of Life Different Depending On the Country of Origin?” – The Government’s Vulgarity Toward the Migrant Workers in Geumyang No. 98

“Is the price of life different depending on the country of origin?” – The government’s vulgarity toward the migrant workers in Geumyang No. 98

 Ki-don Kim (Korea Migrant Workers Human Rights Center)

A funeral ceremony was held for the soldiers who died in the Cheonan accident amid the mourning of the entire nation. We should express our sympathy and condolences for the sorrow of the young soldiers who lost their lives in an accident and the bereaved families who lost their families in the pain of cutting the intestines. However, it is regrettable that there are movements that politically exploit this national heat of remembrance or threaten the people with baseless predictions.
Whether intentional or unintentional, the Cheonan accident covered many issues in our society, such as the MBC labor union’s strike to protect public broadcasting for nearly a month, and the aftermath of the Four Rivers shoveling project. However, it is incomprehensible that the deaths of the victims of the Geumyang 98, the victims of the Cheonan accident, were treated so insignificantly, even if projects that did not suit the government’s taste did not come to light because of the seriousness of the Cheonan accident. It was a thing.
Only recently, political circles have criticized the government for its indifference and inaction toward Geumyang-ho through statements such as statements, and Jung-gu, Incheon, is said to have applied to the Ministry of Health and Welfare to apply as a doctor for the deceased. However, the government and the conservative media were ignoring the victims of the Geumyang and their bereaved families until the public mourning for the soldiers killed in the Cheonan was extended to interest in the victims of the Geumyang and formed a public opinion criticizing the government. The righteous sacrifices of the victims of Geumyang No. 98, who began the search operation in a humane way, were clearly discriminated against.

Double Discrimination, the Sacrifice of Indonesian Sailors
Meanwhile, among the victims of Geumyang No. 98, who are being discriminated against by the government through articles in some media, two Indonesian victims, Rambang Nurkahyo and Yousup Haepa, suffered double discrimination. pointed out that receiving This is because they will receive 37 million won and 40 million won in death and disappearance compensation, which are 1/3 of the compensation for Korean seafarers, respectively.
If civilians, even foreigners, participated in the search for the sunken warship, which the Korean government is fully responsible for, and were sacrificed, more serious treatment would be needed, but in reality, this was not the case. Rather, our society needs to inquire about why the compensation amount was less discriminatory than that of Koreans, and where such discrimination occurred, for the two Indonesian sailors and their bereaved families who were sacrificed, and also for our society. there will be
Training system, unfinished shackles The
late Rambang Nurkahyo and Yusup Haepa, who boarded the Geumyang No. 98, were trainees with the qualifications of fishermen recommended by the Fisheries Cooperative Federation (resident status: former E-0-B/current E-10-2). entered Korea. The government introduced the Employment Permit System in 2003 to partially alleviate the harm of the training system, which was called the ‘Slave Permit System’. In January 2007, the training system that was implemented in parallel with the Employment Permit System was unified and officially abolished. Nevertheless, in the case of foreign seafarers, ships of 20 tons or more were still being recommended in the form of recommendations by the Korea Fisheries Cooperative Federation.
The minimum wage guaranteed to seafarers trainees who entered Korea through this route is 800,000 won per month. This amount was established based on the notification of the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs and a collective agreement, and is an extremely low amount compared to the 2010 minimum wage for domestic seafarers on board was 1,098,000 won. The reason that the minimum wage for seafarers is applied at a higher level than that in the manufacturing industry is because the intensity of work and the risk of accidents are high. However, despite the fact that they are doing the same work as domestic seafarers, the salary paid to seafarer trainees is less than the minimum wage of domestic manufacturing workers of 928,860 won (based on 44-hour workweek). In addition, in order to reduce the risk of accidents, minimal communication must be ensured, but in the case of seafarers trainees, the verification procedure for the minimum Korean language proficiency is also omitted from the introduction procedure, making them vulnerable to accidents at work sites.
Seafarer trainees are managed through a management company that has signed a contract with the Korea Fisheries Cooperative Federation, and although it is now gone, in the past, they had to pay a monthly management fee of 100,000 won to the management company. As a seafarer trainee who first signed a contract with a ship owner, in principle, cannot change his/her job through a contract with another ship owner, so the possibility of changing the ship owner due to working conditions is almost fundamentally blocked.
Seafarers entering Korea on the recommendation of the Korea Fisheries Cooperative Federation are being introduced from Indonesia, China, and Vietnam. As of March 2010, 420 inland seafarers (qualification of residence: former EBA/current E-10-1), and fishermen (qualification of residence: former) E-0-B/Current E-10-2) A total of 5,386 migrant workers (4,966) are working as seafarers trainees.

Labor and Living Conditions of Seafarer Trainees
Human rights violations on ships isolated on the sea are notorious enough to be enforced by the Coast Guard setting a ‘period for intensive crackdown on human rights violations’. In a situation where human rights violations such as assault, confinement, and exploitation of advance payments are occurring even against Koreans, foreign seafarers such as seafarers trainees are experiencing more serious and frequent human rights violations, combined with a sense of discrimination stemming from differences in nationality and language. . Even in the case of migrant workers working in inland manufacturing, which is a relatively open space, direct human rights violations such as verbal abuse and assault still occur in large numbers, but they can contact nearby colleagues and human rights groups, so they can get help in the future. The path is secured to some extent. On the other hand, seafarer trainees, who can be seen as isolated from their home country and Korean society while working, are practically blocked from this path. The case of five Chinese sailors who could not withstand the assault on board the ship and fled while the ship was anchored for a while is a good example of the extent of human rights violations against seafarer trainees.
Because seafarers spend most of their time onboard, exchanges with the community of workers of the same nationality are cut off. In addition, it is common for people not to allow free outing even when they return to the port due to fear of leaving the dormitory, and even if they are permitted to go out, in most cases, the shipowner or company keeps the passport and alien registration card for the purpose of preventing departure. It is for this reason that colleagues of the same nationality did not visit the funeral of the late Rambang Nurkhahyo, making it utterly lonely.
Sailor trainees are working under inhumane working conditions such as discriminatory working conditions, high-intensity, high-risk work, relatively high potential for discriminatory acts and human rights violations, and disconnection from the community and society.
The
37 million won compensation for the dead and 40 million won for the missing persons, which are expected to be paid to Rambang Nurkahyo and Yousup Haepa, who said they were discriminated from the beginning , apply the above-mentioned 800,000 won, the minimum wage for foreign seafarers on board, as ordinary wages. Therefore, the compensation was calculated because it was enrolled in the insurance of the Affiliated Association of Fisheries and Fisheries Cooperatives. The difference between the wage of a Korean seafarer and that of a seafarer trainee is reflected in the amount of compensation as it is.
Regarding the compensation, the employee in charge of the Affiliate Mutual Aid Association said in a phone call with the author, ‘It’s a little money here, but it gets bigger if you go to Indonesia’. I wondered if the intention of the staff member was something we were accustomed to hearing, so I asked, ‘Are you saying that the absolute amount of compensation increases because you can benefit from the exchange rate difference when you exchange Korean money to Indonesian money? They don’t know about this because they don’t exchange money, and because Indonesia’s prices are cheap, it may be small money in Korea, but it’s a lot of money in Indonesia.’
The discrimination that exists among us is deeply ingrained in this way. If you come from a poor country, you have to be more upright and work harder than Koreans, and it is something that Koreans are reluctant to do, but giving a job like this is a great benefit, so you have to be sensible. They give less money than Koreans, but it is a lot of money in their home country, so it is something to be thankful for, and sometimes hitting one by one is a sign of affection or care so that everything goes well.
It was discriminatory from the beginning. Discrimination began after entering Korea in terms of working conditions and humane conditions of life. In the end, it only appeared as a compensation amount calculated to be 800,000 won, which is enough for a monthly salary for seafarer trainees (taking into account the exchange rate difference). We were creating a world where the cost of life for workers was also discriminated against according to their country of origin. This is the reason why the righteous sacrifices of the two Indonesian sailors should not be remembered only as gossip. In order to be proud of the two victims and their families, and for the health of our society, we should root out the training system and take the path to guarantee the labor and human rights of migrant workers.
*Written by People’s Voice

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