UNI Global Union Deputy General Secretary Alke Boessiger and UNI Global President Ruben Cortina called on the Korean government to take a hard look at the Korea National Pension Fund’s investments in the German healthcare company Fresenius and the American technology corporation Oracle for their repeated abuses of workers’ rights protected by international law.
“We have just heard from the representatives of two unions about the challenges workers are facing in Korea when they want to exercise their rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining,” said Boessiger at a press conference in Korean National Assembly on Friday is support of the Korean Democratic Pharmaceutical Union (KDPU.) “Only companies that comply with national and international labour rights should receive government investment.The government should use its influence and demand change.”
At Fresenius Medical Care, which is part of German-based multinational Fresenius, 20 rounds of negotiations have produced zero results because the company refuses to even agree to the most basic demands by the union such as providing necessary time-off for labor activities as recommended by Korean law.
“The problems in Korea, along with obstacles faced by workers in other countries, show a systemic and global problem at Fresenius. FMC Korea and its German mother company Fresenius should immediately engage in meaningful negotiations with unions in Korea to remedy this ongoing denial of workers’ rights,” said Boessiger.
Oracle has been called out by the union for violating Korean labour law by not proving its employees with correct employment contracts. The company is also denying workers their hard-earned overtime pay and annual leave compensation.
Headquartered in Bad Homburg, Germany, Fresenius is a healthcare giant that employs 290,000 workers around the world and records about 30 billion euros ($32.3 billion) in annual sales. In Korea, the company operates Fresenius Kabi Korea, mainly selling nutrients, and Fresenius Medical Care, marketing kidney dialysis machines, dialysis fluids, and services.
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