PSPD People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy
PSPD English Newsletter, March 2018
- 2018.03.13 (10:28:04)
Run PSPD, Fly Democracy!
This month of PSPD
January and February are the period PSPD prepares for a general meeting reviewing past activities and planning for a new year. Naturally external activities and meetings are held at a minimum. Not much as candle protest for impeaching Park Geun-hye was held but PSPD has been very busy since early this year. The keywords of current activities include #Lee Myung-bak, #Lee Jae-yong, #Investigation Agency for High-Ranking Public Servants #PyeongChang Peace Olympic #Recruitment Corruption #Housing Benefit #Paris Baguette # Minimum Wage and #Constitutional Revision.
Investigate a former president Lee Myung-bak as soon as possible
Illegal acts and corruptions of another former president get released every day. One of core issues is who the real owner of DAS is. PSPD has reported Lee and others related last December and provided grounds suggesting Lee Myung-bak is the real owner of DAS. In addition, it presented an issue report criticizing poor investigation conducted by prosecutors and special prosecutors for the last eleven years. PSPD will urge and spur prosecutors to actively investigate various corruptions and allegations about Lee and get to the bottom.
On the other hand, prosecutors recently informed PSPD that they have decided not to prosecute Lee in regard to secret military alliance with UAE, a serious violation of constitution. Last month, PSPD and 1,382 citizens reported Lee and Kim Tae-young a former defense minister to prosecutors but incomprehensible decision was made without having a single inquiry of accusers. Therefore, PSPD requested a ruling to Seoul High Court one day before statute of limitation expired in order to demand pressing charges.
What distress small business owner more than minimum wage
As soon as minimum hourly wage increased by 16.4% to 7,530 won in 2018, corporates and conservative media have started to put stress on burdens small business owners and self-employers have releasing negative articles on the wage increase. Hence, PSPD held a press conference in the line with Economy Democratization Network and denounced that it would mislead the people to think that small business owners oppose to rate increase itself. However, they said there are other difficulties more serious than minimum wage such as high rate of credit card fees, expensive loyalty to franchiser and agency commission, high margin paid to suppliers, high rent fee and unfair contract with building owners. In addition to raising minimum hourly wage to meet the basic standard of living, PSPD will also work for necessary policies and legislation for desperate small business owners including rooting-out unfair trade with Chaebol and large companies, improving profit share structure between franchisers and franchisees and prevention measure for surging rent fee.
Accused Yang Seung-tae, a former chief justice of the Supreme Court of inspecting judges
PSPD and 1,080 citizens have accused a former chief justice Yang Seung-tae and responsible persons of inspecting judges last January for the charge of abusing authorities. Composing a document of inspecting judges means that National Court Administration which has judicial administration has infringed the independence of judge and trial secured in the constitution. PSPD considers it not tolerable. While there is a deep mistrust on judiciary, the truth has to be found by thorough investigation followed by punishing responsible persons.
Presented Housing benefit status which fails to protect housing vulnerable class
and suggestions for improvement
It was desirable to abolish duty of supporting family standard from housing benefit scheme but current benefit is not sufficient to protect the right to live for housing vulnerable class. Hence, PSPD has released an issue report stating current status and improvement measures. The report shows that housing benefit paid to households living in private rental house is far less than an average monthly rent (202,000won in 2016) and households who receive benefit of less than 50,000won reaches 13.8%. In the most expensive residential area such as Seoul, 33% of tenants live in a smaller place than minimum dwelling size proving that housing vulnerable class live in a very poor environment. To increase the benefit up to the standard enough to secure the right to live, current rental fee standard also has to be raised and minimum benefit should be guaranteed by the law.
Lee Jae-yong on probation, Lee Geon-hee’s thousands of borrowed-name accounts,
No more generosity to Chaebol
Judiciary should be ashamed of appeal decision on Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung. The second trial said not guilty for most charges reversing verdicts of the first trial ignoring the nature of the case, immoral cronyism between economic and political fields. Decision of appeal court judges of Lee Jae-yong is partly different from judges for Choi Sun-sil trial but bribery charges against Samsung was applied at minimum comparing with Shin Don-bin, a chairman of Lotte Group case. The court regarded that bribes were forced to give or passively delivered. Therefore, PSPD strongly denounced the court’s decision and held an urgent discussion to review the ruling. It posted full text of the first and the second ruling on PSPD’s website for citizens to read and comment.
More than 260 Lee Geon-hee’s borrowed-name accounts under names of 72 Samsung executives were additionally discovered besides what Cho Jun-woong, Samsung special prosecutor and Financial Supervisory Service found. Proper investigation on endlessly borrowed-name accounts must be carried out and the responsible persons should be punished accordingly by the law. Furthermore, PSPD urges to inspect National Tax Service for not levying taxes properly, and swift taxing and examining Lee Geon-hee for eligibility as a major shareholder should follow.
Urged to continue to cease military actions in Korean Peninsula after Pyeongchang Olympic
Taking Pyeongchang Olympic as an opportunity, military tension in Korean peninsula has disappeared and talks have started. North Korea shows strong will to improve South-North relationship and Korean government is trying hard to make North Korea and US to talk. However, there are worries that tension of military conflicts could revive after the Olympic. PSPD suggested standpoint to Civil and Peace organizations and presented followings. Military actions in Korean Peninsula such as Korea-US military drill and testing nuclear missile of North Korea must be stopped. North Korea and US must talk and negotiate. Demands of Korean civil society for stopping military actions and the peace would be delivered to US administration and parliament and they will jointly work with international peace organizations.
Experience solidarity and cooperation while resolving Paris Baguette illegal dispatch matter
Problems with Illegal dispatch of Paris Baguette issued last year have been resolved that non-regular workers union and Paris Baguette headquarter have reached an agreement on 11 January. It became settled within two months since Civil and social organizations Committee in which PSPD participated was formed in last November. They failed to agree on direct employment by the headquarter but there have been solidarity and cooperation among concerned subjects from discussing various ways of employment that requires guarantee of the headquarter till reaching the agreement. PSPD has also made big contribution in the process and submitted a letter of opinion in respect to reform of Employment Insurance Act which Ministry of Labor and Employment announced to legislate. Regarding the bill prepared by the government, PSPD comments that increasing unemployment benefit from 50% to 60% of average wage and extending payment period (30 days) meet strengthening security but there should be considerate approach in setting the lowest limit to 80% of minimum wage because almost 70% of recipients would get the lowest benefit.
External pressure on investigating Kangwon Land’s corrupted recruitment,
the reason why Special Investigation Agency is required.
Even though most citizens support for establishing special investigation agency for high-ranking public officials, it is not making any progress because Liberty Korea Party hinders. Judicial Reform Special Committee was passed the National Assembly last year for the purpose of discussing the set up but it has wasted time doing nothing until agreement was made between ruling and opposition party to receive reports from five government agencies including Ministry of Justice, Supreme Prosecutors Office and National Court Administration for one month starting from 23 February. Moreover, the Minjoo Party looks incompetent to stop boycott of Liberty Korea Party.
PSPD started signature campaign to make the Judicial Reform Special Committee to work and get the National Assembly to pass the bill of establishing investigation agency. While there is a high demand for reform of prosecutors’ office, Ahn Mi-hyeon, a prosecutor at Chuncheon office has exposed that there was external pressure on the investigation of Kangwon Land’s corrupted recruitment. She was asked to delete the list of evidences on which Kwon Seong-dong, Yeom Dong-yeol from Liberty Korea Party and the name of chief prosecutor at that time appeared. Names like Choi Jong-won, a chief prosecutor of Chuncheon Office and Kim Soo-nam prosecutor-general are also mentioned in this case. Suspicions have been consistently raised for poor investigation and politicians and prosecutors jointly tried to cover it up. These clearly explains why investigation agency for high-ranking official is required in deed.
PSPD is demanding to find the truth through state inspection or special prosecutors if someone connived at Yeom and Kwon,and there were external pressures. PSPD has filed a claim for damage compensation last December and started to protest against Liberty Korea Party lawmakers including Kwon and Yeom who asked unfair favors to Kangwon Land and commercial banks in which 22 cases of unfair recruitment have been confirmed. Youth PSPD and various youth organizations strongly denounced corruptions in front of KEB Hana Bank which has the highest number of wrong recruitment cases and demanded to withdraw unfair employment and revived victims. They also held a press conference urging prosecutors to carry out strict investigation and give a reasonable punishment.
Urge to adopt Universal Children’s Allowance
Finally, Health and Welfare Committee of the National Assembly passed the bill to give child benefit excluding top 10% income household. The Ministry of Health and Welfare said to push forward for universal benefit but failed to get agreement from oppositions including Liberty Korea Party. A welfare system which separates tax payers and recipient is not sustainable. It did not consider administrative waste and hindrance to social integration which would be caused by excluding top 10%. In respect to this, PSPD and many childcare institutions and organizations are consistently demanding the government and the National Assembly to adopt universal children’s allowance as promised at the last presidential election. In coming general election, citizens will be informed of parties and politicians that are in charge of distorted child benefit.
번역: 함승연 (참여연대 자원활동가)
감수: 참여연대 국제연대위원회