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Life of delivery workers in S. Korea; first holiday in 28 years Updated: 2020-08-13 05:52:09 KST

Delivery workers in South Korea are tied into an employment system that doesn't give them basic labor rights.
44-year-old Kwon Dong-wook has been working in the industry for 7 years, but has not gone on a single vacation in that time.
350 boxes sometimes even as many as 500.
That's the number of packages he has to deliver in a single day.

"I leave home at 6 in the morning and work on average 12 to 13 hours a day. With today's workload, I expect to finish after 7 PM or it could go on until midnight."

A lack of employment rights means delivery workers can't take time off even when they're sick or have broken bones.
To take a day off, they have to hire someone from an agency, which costs them more money than they receive from the delivery company.
But for the first time in 28 years, they might finally be able to take a break.
Five major delivery firms have agreed to not receive any orders on August 14th.
With National Liberation Day on Saturday this year, making Friday a "no delivery day" gives the workers three full days of vacation.

"It's the first time that I get to go on a long vacation with such a light heart. My family is also excited. We are planning to go somewhere far this time."

"But for this ‘no delivery day’ to work properly, it will require active cooperation from consumers.
So people are voluntarily holding off from ordering on the one or two days before."

"Delivery services have made our lives so much easier. I make two to three orders a week. But if deliverymen get to go on holidays by me not ordering, I will stop my orders and give up that convenience for a few days."

This first official holiday is the result of years of fierce struggles by the union.
Four deaths from overwork occurred in the industry in this year alone.

"We couldn't get the companies on board until now. But with public sentiment supporting us and demanding that firms respect our rights, we made such a change all together."

A day dedicated to delivery workers is a historic move towards an improvement in labor rights.
But in order for this 'no delivery day' to be more than just a one-time event, institutionalizing an official holiday for the workers is necessary.
Choi Jeong-yoon, Arirang News.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
본 저작물 중 본문에 해당하는 뉴스 스크립트(텍스트)는 공공누리 제1유형-출처표시 조건에 따라 이용할 수 있습니다.