Korea: NUMW-Broadcasting Writers Local Union scores first collective agreement 6 months after its launch!
NUMW-MBC Daegu Regional Broadcasting Writers Local Union signed the first collective bargaining agreement with MBC-Daegu Regional Broadcasting on May 18. This is the first agreement achieved by the union since it launched in November 2017. More significantly, this first CBA ensured that there is a wage increment after a 10-year long stagnation. The union has about 100 members in major broadcasters like KBS, MBC, and SBS.
In the CBA, there are provisions for the company and the union to consult on the working conditions. This is a big progress for writers as they play an essential role in the conceptualisation and production of many broadcasting programs that the Korean public is so used to enjoying now.
However for many years, these writers are treated as freelancers, as such they were subjected to unfair working conditions. In Korea there are over 10,000 such writers with most of them being young women. Many of them are working as non-regular contract workers which meant they are effectively not protected by the labour standards act.
The most important value of this CBA is that the writer's fee will be negotiated on an annual basis and inflation will also be factored in the fees adjustment. At present, the writer's fee has been included as part of the production cost. Going forward, the annual budget of production cost and the wage for writers will be planned separately.
This CBA is a positive win for the writers and a first fulfilment of the declaration made by Sister Lee Mi-Ji, President of the NUMW-Broadcasting Writers Local Union, during the union’s launch last year. She had promised the union will be a “front-liner” to enhance workers’ rights, eliminate sexual harassment and human rights violation at work, ensure autonomous union management, express solidarity with all workers in the broadcasting and contents market and eradicate all forms of unfair practices in the broadcasting industry.
Bro Kim Whan-Kyun, NUMW president recalled, "From last November to early this year KBS, MBC, YTN went on strikes to restore the public value of broadcasting and eliminating the accumulated old-evils in the broadcasting. During this trying period, most of floor directors, assistant directors and broadcasting writers could not work and suffered a loss of pay. The broadcasting writers’ local union had issued solidarity statements and extended strong support to the broadcasting workers.
“The question of fair broadcasting and normalization of public broadcasting and worker's rights of thousands of non-regular contract workers in the newspaper, broadcasting, publishing and cable TV, satellite TV will not be treated as separate issues. We take our role seriously to improve the working conditions of non-regular contract workers in this industry”.
UNI Apro congratulates the NUMW-MBC Daegu Regional Broadcasting Writers Local Union for its achievement!