SOUTH KOREA: Complaining About the Boss Gets Newspaper Staff Locked Out

RYAN LIPPERT WRITES – Bad bosses have made life miserable for employees since the dawn of time, but Chang Jae-ku is one boss who won’t tolerate complaints.

Since June 15, approximately 180 correspondents have been kept from returning to their jobs at Hankook Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper. Their boss, Chang Jae-ku, has kept them out because some of the employees at the paper criticized his management style.

According to Reporters Without Borders, “The case goes back to 29 May, when part of the newspaper’s editorial staff filed a complaint with the Seoul public prosecutor’s office accusing Chang of ‘breach of trust’ in his management of the newspaper.” This complaint is what allegedly sparked the events of June 15.

On that day, Chang used a group of security guards to remove two of his employees from the building and keep 180 more outside. Chang also made significant changes to the workforce at Hankook Ilbo.

Reporters Without Borders wrote that “Hankook Ilbo editor-in-chief Lee Young-sung was demoted and replaced by Jong-oh Ha, a retired editorial writer close to the owner. The management also appointed two new editorial writers,” and “certain staff members have been fired and replaced by Chang allies.”

Naturally, the staffers who’ve been refused entry have complained, hoping to attract media attention. Whether or not Chang will relent may render interesting results for the future of the paper. For now, the jury is still out on Big Boss vs. Collective Correspondents.

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