The Korean offshoot of Germany-based Fresenius Medical Care has violated employees’ rights and disapproved of activities of the company’s trade union, a pharmaceutical labor umbrella group said.
The Korean Democratic Pharmaceutical Union (KDPU) and Swiss-based UNI Global Union held a news conference to criticize the management of Fresenius Medical Care Korea at the National Assembly on Friday.
|Rep. Lee Yong-deuk (center) of the ruling Democratic Party and the Korean Democratic Pharmaceutical Union call on Fresenius Medical Care Korea to comply with the international and domestic labor laws at a news conference in Seoul, Wednesday.|
Headquartered in Bad Homburg, Germany, Fresenius is a healthcare giant that employs 290,000 workers around the world and records about 30 billion euros ($32.3 billion) in annual sales.
In Korea, the company operates Fresenius Kabi Korea, mainly selling nutrients, and Fresenius Medical Care, marketing kidney dialysis machines, dialysis fluids, and services.
“Although Fresenius Medical Care yields a higher profit than Fresenius Kabi Korea, the company has not paid any extra pay for overwork and vacation allowances,” the KDPU said.
Since the establishment of the labor union in 2018, the management has deliberately delayed negotiations by refusing to comply with the collective bargaining rules such as union recognition and time off for those who fully commit to labor union work, it added.
The KDPU went on to say that the company’s labor union began the collective bargaining with the management in January 2019 and has participated in 20 rounds of negotiations for one year and one month.
However, the two sides failed to reach an agreement, and the labor union requested mediation by the Seoul District Labor Relations Commission, and the case is ongoing, the umbrella group said.
The KDPU claimed that the management’s stance preventing workers from joining the trade union meant that the management did not recognize three basic rights of labor, particularly the right to organize.
“Fresenius Medical Care Korea did not make the minimum payment for extra work, night work, and work on holidays, violating Article 56 of the Labor Standards Act,” the KDPU said.
The trade union filed a complaint with the Seoul District Employment and Labor Office in May last year because the company did not make a legal payment for unused annual leave. In February, the Labor Office recognized the violation of the law and sent the case to the prosecution, it said.
Before the general shareholders’ meeting of Fresenius in May, UNI Global Union plans to cooperate with other international labor associations such as Union Network International (UNI), Public Services International (PSI), and Industrial Global Union to hold a forum in Frankfurt, Germany, to criticize the company for alleged tax evasion and to call for the respect for labor rights, before the general shareholders’ meeting of the company in May.
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