KEC (Chairman Kwak Jung-so), a semiconductor parts maker with a factory in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province, is causing public uproar by providing workers with meals priced at $1,4 dollar per unit price.
According to a report by the Kyunghyang Shinmun on May 29, the KEC branch of Korean Metal Workers' Union (KMWU) criticized the company, saying "The breakfast that was distributed on May 23 was rice, kimchi, meatball, yogurt and soup. It is too poor. I can't work after eating this meal."
"In the past, chicken legs used to be a common specialty, but now they are worse. Noodles, kimchi, ramen and pickled radish. Is there a place where more than 600 people work providing ramen for a meal?"
In the case of Seoul Metropolitan Government, the standard unit price for meals is 3 dollar for public elementary schools, 3.8 dollar for national and private elementary schools and 4.4 dollar for middle and high schools.
The cost of meals at the KEC is less than one-third of that at middle and high schools in Seoul. According to a recent survey of the employees' satisfaction with eating, 77 percent said they were unhappy with the meal.
"Although commodity prices are going up, the unit price has been unchanged. Accordingly, the materials are mostly processed foods, and the quality of the meal is going to decrease," the KEC branch said.
Lee Jong-hee, the branch head, said, "We have been making demands to improve the quality of our meals for many years, but the management has not accepted the demand."
When the picture of the meal was released on SNS, some employees said, "No, it's not a snack." "Is it right that we live in the 21st century?" "Is this what management officials eat?"
KEC is also the place where unfair labor practices took place. A recent ruling also came out that the company should compensate the labor union as it inflicted damage on the union for its unfair labor practices.