During a recent mission to South Korea earlier this month, BWI General Secretary raised the issue of outstanding back wages and other problems related to the construction of projects related to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Along with President Baik Seok Keun of BWI affiliate the Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Unions (KFCITU), Yuson met with Song Ki Hyun, a newly elected member of the National Assembly representing Wongju, Gangwon (the Province holding the Games). Representative Song is a member of the ruling Democratic Party and one of three coordinators of the Special Committee for Supporting PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games and International Sports Events.
“There’s less than six month until the Opening Ceremony, and yet many of the workers that made this possible still remain unpaid,” said Yuson. “It is the responsibility of the new-incoming Government to immediately address this problem.”
In June, the BWI released a report that found that the total amount owed to self-employed construction machinery workers from project sites directly related to the Games was over $807,000 USD, and the total amount for other Olympic-related projects was over $6,000,000 USD.
In addition to delayed wages, Yuson highlighted the importance of ensuring occupational safety and health, not only in the preparation of the upcoming Winter Olympics, but also as part of bidding the process for future mega-sporting events. He also noted the importance of President Moon Jae-In’s new government releasing all imprisoned trade unionists, in particular President Han Sang-Gyun of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions.
In acknowledging the concerns and issues raised by Yuson, Representative Song stated that he would continue to discuss with the KFCITU to find concrete solutions.