This somebody is 200 of janitors of Ewha who comes to campus at 6:00 a.m. everyday and spends nine hours cleaning up the dirt and trashes of Ewha. What they face during their working hours are mostly trash and clogged toilet bowl, and the situation in lunch or break time is not so much better from their working hours. They squat small rooms to finish the short lunch. All they get after this intensive labor a month is 877,800 won, which is even below the legal minimum wage, 5,180 won per hour.
On Feb. 20, 49 days after Hongik University’s 170 janitors got fired just because they joined the labor’s union and started the strike asking for “human like” wage and better working condition, labor’s union and the contractor company made a drastic compromise. As a result, some of the union’s requirements were accepted.
During the long strike, janitors of Hongik University were never alone. Students sent food and letters to support the janitors, to encourage their struggle. Some students actively involved in the situation, asking for the university to play a role in resolving the problem.
Although the fight seems to be between the labor’s union and the contractor company, since janitors work for the school, some students argued that the school has responsibility in dealing with the matter.
Also, as universities are the highest educational institution and requires higher moral standards from the society, students thought the school should not step back from the matter.
On March 8, few days after the compromise, janitors from Ewha, Yonsei, and Korea University gathered at Yonsei campus, asking for 5,180 won of wage per hour. Public’s attention is now toward Ewha students’ role in this situation.