Kupang workers in Korea have paid cash to the bereaved families at their funerals

When Park Mi-suk hosted a funeral for his late son Zhang Duk-jun in Daegu, South Korea last October, the managers of his former employer Kupang gave him an envelope containing Won3m (2,600).

According to the handwritten funeral registration, ecommerce agency, which New York listed The families of at least two of the most recently killed workers were also given cash, with an estimate of 60 billion last month.

These payments have done little to alleviate the grief of death on behalf of the family for which they are responsible. Extra work. The bereaved family of three, who previously worked at the Kupang-owned logistics center, are considering filing a lawsuit against the company and its subcontractors.

“We have apologized for my son’s death, sought preventive measures and compensation but have not been able to negotiate sincerely with the agency,” Park said. “We are considering a lawsuit in the United States.”

Her son, 27, died in his bathtub in October after completing a night shift at a warehouse in Kupang, Daegu.

Kopang initially denied responsibility for Zhang’s death but an official investigation obtained by the Korea Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service (KCOMOL) found that he had died of a heart attack due to overwork.

“We were devastated by his sudden death but there was no word of apology from them, let’s just admit that my son died of overwork,” Park told the Financial Times.

Labor lawyers and union officials have complained that eight Kupnang workers, including two subcontractors, have died in the past year due to overwork.

The ecommerce firm, backed by investors such as Softbank, Sequoia and BlackRock, vehemently denied responsibility for the deaths, saying only one person was recognized as working. However, it is facing increasing political pressure over the incidents.

The family of Park Hyun-kyung, 3, who died in June after working as a sub-contractor at a cafeteria in Kupang, Cheon, has filed a criminal complaint with the Ministry of Labor against the ecommerce group and two other contractors.

Her husband, Choi Dong-beam, said the agencies rejected her request for a meeting. Choi has filed a lawsuit against KCOMOL for compensation. The state-run Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Research is investigating the cause of death, KCOMEL said.

South Korean companies pay insurance fees to KCOMOL, which compensates workers if their injuries are recognized as work-related.

“For months before he died, he suffered from regular headaches and coughs,” Choi said. “But the agencies showed no interest in his death, paying each other.”

Kopang said a police investigation had determined that the agency was not responsible for Park Hyun-king’s death. It said he worked for Dungwan Homefood, a food service organization that provided goods and services to over 1,000,000 companies nationwide, including Kupang.

Park Mi-suk, the mother of the slain worker, complained that Kupang was not cooperating to provide information related to the work required to file a compensation claim. “I feel humiliated in the process of getting information from the agency,” he said.

According to Im Jong-sang, a lawyer for the ruling party, Kupang Philanthropy Services workers in Kupang’s logistical arm filed 239 lawsuits with KCOMOL last year for compensation for work loss.

Im said Kappang denied that 28.5 percent of claims were work-related, three times higher than the average for Korean firms. However, KCOMOL said that 15 of them are not work related.

“If the employer does not acknowledge the work injury, the claimants will have to experience a lot of inconvenience and pain to prove that their injuries are work related,” Im said.

When asked by FT authorities about Won3m at the funeral and possible compensation claims, Kupang said it offered to provide assistance to the bereaved families of employees regardless of the cause of death, “money including group accident insurance, financial assistance for funerals and condolences”.

“Any death is a tragedy regardless of the cause,” Kupang said. “As is customary in Korea, it is our practice to inspect the janaza of ex-workers, to offer condolences and to provide assistance to families.”

The agency said two of the eight deaths were not Kupang employees, they were on-site contractors and were not related to the accident.

Of the other six, Kupang said, three occurred at home or on vacation and three at work. The three who died at the scene were related to a heart attack and none were due to an accident. All workers in question work under 52 hours a week, it says.

The union said in a statement that the union was “trying to portray the heart and coronary heart as a work in progress, including what happened at home or on vacation.” “Cardiac and cerebrovascular disorders are the second and fourth leading cause of death in Korea, and the rate of both Kopang’s disease is lower than the Korean national average.”

Under South Korean labor law, Kopang is not legally obligated to compensate the families of deceased workers without losing a lawsuit filed by mourners.

Labor researcher Zhang Kui-eun said cash at the funeral did not mean the company was accepting legal liability. But he added: “These should be seen as an expression of their moral responsibility.”

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