Four out of every ten workers in Korea's coastal fishing boats are migrant workers. Discrimination based on nationality is prohibited both under the Seafarers Act and the Labor Standards Act. Migrant workers, however, experience discrimination not only when they work, but also when they are injured.
In 2020, Mr. N, Vietnamese, was working on a ship catching blue crabs, snow crabs, squid, and shrimp, when his hand got caught winding the steel wires of the fishing net. Due to this accident his right shoulder bone was broken and his right thumb was cut off.
However, Suhyup, the organization in charge of providing migrant workers’ accident compensation, said they would provide Mr. N only half of the accident compensation given to Korean sailors. This amount is also below the minimum wage.
Mr. N in response took his case to court, stating that the accident compensation benefit was incorrectly calculated, but in October 2023, the Seoul High Court declared that the discriminatory calculation of the accident compensation benefit was reasonable. Although minimum wage should be calculated without including accommodation or lodging expenses, the court decided that considering the financial burden for the employer, discrimination of minimum wage and minimum accident compensation is reasonable, as the employer is required to pay for the accommodation and lodging of the migrant boat under the standard labor contract.
Accordingly, we are collecting petitions asking the Supreme Court judge in charge of this case for a fair judgment. We ask for your participation.