< Anchor>

The shipbuilding industry has been experiencing its biggest boom in 10 years in recent years. However, there are not enough people to work, and foreign workers are rushing to fill the positions.

Reporter Jung Joon-ho covered the shipyard site.

< Jung Joon-ho>
Vietnamese are being trained to cut pipes at a shipbuilding company in

Korean instructors are attached and teach you how to cut exactly according to the figures.

After four weeks of training, they will be put into the field, and most of them have never worked in welding or cutting before coming to Korea.

Training foreign workers from Nepal, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, etc., is one of the most important tasks for shipbuilders these days.

[Dang Te Toan/Shipbuilding Prospective Worker (Vietnam): This is my first time working in the shipbuilding industry, and I think it will be a good experience, and I want to improve my skills and become an excellent engineer. ]

The site where the construction of large LNG carriers is in full swing.

What you're seeing now is an LNG ship.

The price of each ship is more than 300 billion won, and 70% of the world's orders were received by domestic shipbuilders last year.

But there is no one to work.

After years of recession, the number of shipbuilding workers has dropped from 203,000 in 2014 to 95,000 last year, less than half.

In the shipbuilding complex, the scramble to get manpower out of the country is commonplace.

More than 14,000 more workers were needed, but there was no way to do it, so the government decided to provide an emergency blood transfusion for foreign workers and drastically relaxed the requirements for work visas.

[Kim Jin-kook/CEO of shipbuilding supplier: It would be better if more Koreans would come as much as possible, and we are very grateful that the government is helping us a lot now, so that foreigners can enter the country sooner than in the past. ]

By 2025, more than 5,000 foreigners will be assigned to the shipbuilding industry every year, and 1 in 10 workers will be foreigners.

(Video Interview: Park Hyun-cheol, Video Editing: Park Jin-hoon)


< anchor>

While the fire is being extinguished with foreign workers, the shipbuilding industry says skilled workers should be filled with young talent from the country.

But why do young workers avoid the shipbuilding industry?

< Jeong Ban-seok>
Mr. A, a skilled worker who worked at the shipyard for more than
15 years, moved to a chemical company three years ago.

[Mr. A/Skilled shipbuilder who left his job: The difference in wages was a bit large. It's about 1.5 million won (in salary), so it's not working. ]

They were not paid enough to compensate for the dangerous working conditions.

[Mr. A/Skilled shipbuilder who left his job: (One step) is waist high, but you have to climb 11 steps to work. With a rope, that's dangerous. I also saw the worker I was working with fall. ]

The influx of young people into the shipbuilding industry is largely due to the still low wage levels.

In the shipbuilding industry, which consists of a layered subcontracting structure, the original shipbuilders are not raising the construction costs of subcontractors sufficiently due to the accumulated deficit in the past, even though orders are booming.

The government has set up a win-win council to raise the wages of subcontracted workers to more than 70 percent of the original contract, but it is unclear how effective it will be.

Because of this, the interest of students in related majors is increasing, but it is still dubious.

[Jeong Jae-hoon/Korea Polytechnic University: (Labor) I think the intensity is counted, but if there is that much remuneration and welfare, I think I can refer to it. ]

[Geum Woon-hyuk/Korea Polytechnic University: I've heard a lot about the bad working environment, so if we make improvements, why don't we review it positively? ]

With the shipbuilding industry having an accident rate of more than three times the average of the manufacturing industry, we need to increase investment to create a safe working environment as well as the development of high-value ship technology.

(Video Interview: Park Hyun-cheol, Video Editing: Lee Sang-min, CG: Lim Chan-hyuk)

< anchor>
We'll talk to reporter Jung Joon-ho, who covered
this issue.

Q. Is there an alternative for foreign workers?

[Jung Joon-ho: The number of foreigners is increasing, but it is not easy to improve their skills. Since they will return to Korea after a few years, there is a limit to training them as technical professionals. Even in recent years, there have been deviations. Recently, nine Thai workers at the shipyard went into hiding, and four people left their accommodation without permission in February. There is concern that the easing of shipbuilding work visa requirements will turn into a means of illegal stay. It seems that we need to take measures against this.]

Q. Is it possible to maintain the technology?

[Reporter Jung Joon-ho: That's right. The share of high-value-added ships and eco-friendly ships that are making money now is declining in Korea and has a clear upward trend in China. They are being chased by China in terms of technology. These shipbuilders say that even if the number of orders increases, there is a time lag between payments, so the improvement in performance is limited, but the elimination of the wage gap between the original contractors is a task that cannot be postponed any longer. In the case of European shipbuilders, the gap between the source and subcontracting is 10~20%And we can get up to 50 percent. First of all, wages must be realised so that young people can turn to the shipbuilding industry, and technical talent must be cultivated as soon as possible.]

(Video editing: Park Jin-hoon)