The growth in the number of temporary workers in Korea is a serious social issue. It is presumed that about 1/3 of the work force is temporary. The bishops of Korea have in their recent Justice and Peace Committee decided to deal with the problem since the Church has many who are temporary workers.
The temporary workers are not protected by law and are contracted for a period of time at the end of which they can be fired if they do not become regular workers. The Korean law mandated that after two years the temporary worker should be considered a regular worker; this was drawn up to help the temporary worker but has rather caused many to be fired.
Research has shown that temporary workers are paid less than regular workers, face poor working conditions and are denied various social insurance benefits. It was also found that most temporary jobs called for female workers and the number of female temporary workers was increasing sharply.
The bishops have acknowledged that the Church itself has hired many temporary workers and has benefited from the low wages and easy control and not following the Church's teaching on these issues. The bishops' committee have made it clear that if what the Church says in this area the Church itself is not an example, then we are speaking empty words and we will not be listened to.
Since the Church is faced with the same problems that the larger society has,the Church will have to marshal the cooperate wisdom of those involved and become an example of what can be done. This will be happy news to those who are poor and to the larger community.