The KAIST Global Institute for Talented Education (ITE) has come under criticism for its disregard for student labor rights during its KAIST YOUTH Scientist Camp last month. Student camp mentors claimed that their daily wage of 80,000 KRW did not comply with the minimum wage rate and requested a revision of payment policies. In response to the criticism, ITE has reassigned wages for camp mentors and paid the new wages to corresponding students.
On August 27, the Undergraduate Student Council (USC) posted a report titled “Report on measures against violation of human and labor rights in ITE camp” on the school community website. According to the report, camp mentors who pointed out the low wage and lack of labor contract in the camp were banned from mentor activity for no apparent reason. Feeling that their basic labor rights were violated, the students decided to cooperate with the Human Rights Center and the Audit Office to actively fight the problem.
The USC has pointed out several problems with ITE’s regulations for calculating wages: half-wages were given because the “intensity of work was low” during shifts; half-wages were given for non-shift work hours for the same reason; meal hours were counted as break times even though mentors had to look after students during said hours; extended and night work wages were not taken into account; morning and night roll call were not included in the total work hours. With consultation from a certified public labor attorney, the USC informed ITE that these problems were against labor laws, and student mentors were paid appropriate compensation for their labor. In addition, the USC condemned ITE’s regulation in having student mentors filing confirmation of payment documents as an inappropriate act. The USC judged that the purpose of these documents, which are not required by law, was to justify the noncompliance of minimum wage rates with the agreement of students.
To prevent a recurrence of such labor rights violations, the USC has requested ITE to apologize to the student victims, to write labor contracts, and to ensure proper payment adhering to minimum wage rates in future camps.