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Seoul Metro hit by protest from furious student group

Nov 01,2018
In response to the recent nepotism scandal at Seoul Metro, the University Students’ Forum of Korea (USFK) distributed handwritten protest posters condemning the Seoul Metro and city government on Oct. 27 to universities in Seoul.

According to the USFK, the protest is on behalf of all university students, whose hopes for a fair shot at a job were crushed when hiring nepotism at Seoul Metro was revealed.

“The Seoul Metro and affiliated Seoul city government disappointed us when it was revealed that recently upgraded former contract workers may have had inside information about the transition from relatives already working at the company,” said the USFK. “This nepotism at Seoul Metro should be investigated and punished accordingly to make sure that these problems don’t expand to other public corporations.”

The USFK released a public statement on Monday stating that they will continue to distribute the protest posters “until something is done about the problem.”

The posters were distributed to Yonsei, Hongik, Korea and Kyung Hee universities and Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, all of which are in Seoul. The posters were then put up at locations all throughout the campuses to inform university students of the situation.

“I’m beyond angry and now feel dejected. I can’t help but wonder if all my efforts [to get a job] is in vain,” said a junior from Kyunghee University after seeing the posters. “In order to prepare for a job, I go to the library to study at seven in the morning and don’t come back home until 11 at night. It is mind-blowing to know I might not have gotten a job because I didn’t have a relative working at Seoul Metro.”

The alleged nepotism caused outrage among students who believed that public corporations would be more transparent and just that private ones when recruiting new employees.

“Because of the unemployment problem, finding a job in a private company is like trying to find a needle in a haystack,” said Jeong Chae-yoon a senior at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. “That’s why I firmly believed that, at least in public corporations, if you worked hard enough, then you would have a chance to be employed. This is why the recent allegations about Seoul Metro really upset me.”

The Seoul Metropolitan Government strongly denies the allegations of illicit hiring practices at Seoul Metro. Opposition political parties have raised the possibility of a parliamentary probe, but the Seoul city government said there’s not enough evidence for one. Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, however, stated that he will “delegate further inspection of Seoul Metro to the state audit agency and take appropriate measures if there were any serious hiring irregularities.”

BY PARK HYUNG-SU [jeong.juwon@joongang.co.kr]