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A Security Guard in His Sixties Climbs a Chimney: “Unfair Layoff” of 14 Employees at New Hyundai Apartment
By Jeong Hui-wan
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On December 31, 2012 another laid-off worker launched a demonstration atop a chimney surrounded by biting winds in the center of Seoul.Min (61) had worked as a security guard for nine years at the Shin (New) Hyundai Apartment compound in Apgujeong-dong, Seoul. He recently received a notice from a contractor announcing the termination of his contract.

Min was laid off because he had written an apology for having failed to record his patrol activities once. Security guards who had written apologies for having dozed off on the job or for covering part of the lighting with a newspaper to adjust the light in the guard post were all recently laid off. They were all part-time workers who had passed the retirement age of 60.

At around noon on December 31, these men held a press conference at the main gate of the compound demanding an extension of their contract. On behalf of the laid-off workers, Min began a sit-down on top a 20-meter chimney within the compound in the freezing sub-zero temperature. In a phone conversation with The Kyunghyang Shinmun, Min said, “I climbed the chimney because our contracts were terminated for ridiculous reasons. I will not go down until they guarantee employment.”

On December 31 in the bitter cold, an apartment security guard greets the approaching New Year while protesting atop a chimney within the compound claiming unfair lay-offs. Security guards at Shin (New) Hyundai Apartment in Apgujeong-dong Seoul were recently laid off based on an earlier retirement age and written apologies. Seo Seong-il

The security service contractor received resignations from 23 security guards over the age of sixty in mid-December. It was customary for the security guards to submit their letters of resignation and continue working after signing a new contract. But this time, the contracts of only nine guards including eight who had not written apologies, were extended.

Previously in March, the contractor lowered the age limit for part-time security guards from 65 to 62 terminating the contracts of 13 employees. Kim Chang-soo, director of the Seoul General Union of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, said, “Written apologies cannot be the reason for dismissal. The contractors are being harsh, driving the older security guards out.”

However, a representative of the contractor said, “We terminated the contracts of part-time security guards with problematic attitudes who wrote apologies for behavior such as drinking while on duty.”

Copyright The Kyunghyang Shinmun. All rights reserved. Reproduction and redistribution without permission absolutely prohibited.

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