Target: Kim Jong-un, Supreme Leader of North Korea
Goal: Stop the pocketing of the wages of exploited North Korean garment workers.
Garment workers in North Korea are having their wages withheld illegally by the country’s government following the passing of a misleading law. The country’s industrial industry initially announced that North Korean garment workers could see their wages increase by five percent, however garment workers have yet to reap the so-called benefits and frustrations have steadily increased.
In February of 2015, South Korean business districts, which work jointly with North Korean industrial laborers, proposed a new law aimed at raising the monthly minimum wage. Benefits included overtime pay, taxes, bonuses and wage incentives equivalent to U.S. $130 or $300 more a month. Although the law requires companies to pay salaries directly to garment workers, North Korea has overlooked this policy in favor of the increased salaries being paid to the country’s government for distribution to garment workers.
This serious abuse of power has caused North Korean garment workers to be spited financially of their well-earned benefits and wages. The situation for North Korean garment workers is similar to that of other international industrial workers, especially those working in underdeveloped countries; wages are constantly withheld illegally by factory managers, workers are forced to endure the effects of potentially life-threatening environments, and many take home just pennies on the dollar for workdays that start as early as 4 a.m. and can stretch well into the evening.
Allegedly, political commissars are the only ones benefiting from the wage increase, as the North Korean government continues to pay out only a fraction of what garment workers actually earn, unjustly pocketing the profits. The North Korean government continues to ignore the plight of the country’s garment workers, violating their basic human rights and denying them the rights to assemble and organize independent unions aimed at safeguarding those rights.
What initially began as a promising law–one that would require the garment industry to finally start respecting the rights of its workers–has been unjustly tarnished by the North Korean’s overwhelming advocacy of self-interest and illicit profit.
Sign the petition to urge Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un to pay North Korean garment workers what they’re owed and follow the guidelines of the initial law.
Dear Supreme Leader Jong-un,
It has recently come to my attention that the North Korean government has made a serious oversight in a new industrial law that requires garment workers to have their wages increased and receive various benefits such as overtime pay and bonuses. Because the North Korean government has acted in self-interest, countless garment workers are being denied their rightful wages and are forced to perform hazardous labor for just pennies on the dollar.
In addition to this serious abuse of power, garment workers aren’t allowed to organize unions aimed at protecting their basic human rights, further perpetuating the cycle of abuse and intimidation. Garment workers are among the most exploited group of workers in the world. Some garment workers start their work days as early as 4 a.m. and toil diligently into the evening, while others face sex discrimination and sexual harassment.
Even children aren’t safe from the clutches of garment labor, as many of them seek work early to combat poverty but experience abuse beyond comprehension.
These injustices must end now. The North Korean government shouldn’t pocket profits they didn’t earn and the apathy displayed towards basic human rights laws and industrial laws regarding garment worker wages is simply appalling. I urge you to pay North Korea’s garment workers what they’re owed, not what you think they should earn, and develop a greater respect for the laws governing their livelihoods.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: marissaorton via Flickr