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When The Camellia Blooms” Criticized By Union For Poor Working Conditions

The broadcasting staff union department of Hope Solidarity Labor Union has called out KBS 2TV’s “When the Camellia Blooms” for its poor working conditions.

On October 14, the union wrote in a statement, “KBS 2TV’s currently on-air Wednesday-Thursday drama ‘When the Camellia Blooms’ is forcing its staff to work long, punishing hours of labor; pressuring them to work under a business consignment agreement rather than a standard labor contract; and is currently filming without a contract.”

According to the statement, the union held talks with the drama’s production company Pan Entertainment on October 1 in order to resolve the situation of the staff working without contracts and for the protection of labor rights.

The union made demands including a limit of 14 hours of labor per day (excluding two hours of rest), departing at the KBS Annex and dispersing at the KBS Annex, inclusion of travel time in total hours of labor in case of departing from the KBS Annex to other areas (such as Boryeong or Pohang), and the inclusion of two hours for Boryeong and four hours for Pohang in the total hours of labor in the case of returning to the KBS Annex from other areas.

The production company, however, suggested 16 hours of labor per day (excluding two hours of rest) and exclusion of travel time to other areas (such as Boryeong and Pohang) from the total hours of labor.

After the negotiation, the drama filmed for a total of 21 hours on October 4 and offered a sauna to the staff as lodging so that they could leave for filming at 11 a.m. the next day. The union stated, “They revived the long-existing evil of 20-hour filming and sauna lodging.”

The union made the same demands to the production company for the second time, and added, “We strongly condemn the production company that suggests the long period of 20 hours of filming and saunas that don’t guarantee sleep. They violate the labor rights of the staff on the set of ‘When the Camellia Blooms’ and threaten their right to health and life.

In July, the Ministry of Employment and Labor previously announced the results of its labor supervision of four dramas—”Mother of Mine,” “My Fellow Citizens,” “Doctor Prisoner,” and “Left-Handed Wife”(literal title)—where it took corrective measures stating that the staff working on sets fell under labor contracts despite mostly working under business consignment agreements.

Source: Soompi

To sum it all up the crew has no contract or a bad contract that doesn’t protect their rights.

The union wants:
14 hour working days maximum which includes a break of 2 hours and all the traveltime to filming locations. Meaning the crew still has 10 hours left to sleep, have a life with their day.

The production company wants:
16 hour working hours which excludes breaks of 2 hours and travel time to filming locations. So when lucky they have 6 hours of free time to sleep, have a life, but when unlucky only 2 (!!).

Next to that the production company thinks it’s ok to have the crew work for 20 hours and then provide lodging in a sauna so they are closer to work the next day and can have a rest. How the bleep is that okay?! Can they have a proper sleep in a sauna? No.

And without those crew members having a proper contract they have no rights that protect them, if you complain they kick you out. And next to that without a contract can you claim your payment when they don’t want to pay you? That will most likely be troublesome too.

This is not the first time a scandal like this happens, I think it’s pretty ‘normal’ with the live broadcast method that is often used because then they can change the story here and there when we, the viewers, don’t like certain things. Which is sad because they can’t make everyone happy. And knowing all this it really makes me sad when people keep demanding new episodes when the crew is still making them, putting even more pressure on everyone.

Lately I noticed more and more Kdrama is pre produced which is a good thing. Or they even decide to build in more time so the crew can work on it longer like Arthdal Chronicles.

I really like “When Camellia Blooms” (which is not on Viki) but knowing this… I won’t enjoy it as much. Boycot? No because then all their work so far will be gone to waste.


Excuse me but what sort of union is one that doesn’t bring on the table the idea of a “strike”?
No one can force anyone to work that long hours if that someone doesn’t want to comply with such a demand.

Going on strike might be not a good idea, for now, because some workers don’t have a proper contract which does protect their rights. So if they strike what do you think will happen?

I feel like this won’t be the last time this happens.
It’s really sad, because even with very talented actors, you won’t get a good drama if it wasn’t for all the people behind the scenes. Maybe if they had less pressure / more rest, they could create even more master pieces.

Sigh. It just makes me more selective in what to watch / listen to.

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