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Police officers sue state over unpaid wages

All Headlines 11:33 October 29, 2012

SEOUL, Oct. 29 (Yonhap) -- Thousands of police officers across the country have filed a class-action suit against the state, claiming that they were due back wages for overtime work, a leading plaintiff said Monday.

In the lawsuit filed with the Seoul Central District Court, the plaintiffs sought one million won (US$912) in compensation for each person for unpaid overtime wages from the past three years.

Oh Seung-wook, the police inspector of the Gusan Police Station in North Jeolla Province who is leading the legal action, said that current police officers are not properly compensated because the state wrongfully applied a government regulation, in violation of the labor law.

The Ministry of Public Administration and Security's regulation stipulates that the government cannot pay overtime allowance and the weekly holiday allowance at the same time for certain types of public officials.

Police officers from the police substations across the country, who work more than a mandatory 40 hours per week, are in this category.

A group of firefighters, who are also in this category, launched a similar class-action suit against the state and won in 2009. Another group of prison guards also filed this type of lawsuit in May of this year.

Similar class action suits by police officers have been filed with district courts, with the number of plaintiffs reaching almost 5,000, he added.

Oh said he has recruited the plaintiffs through an Internet cafe that he currently runs, adding that more plaintiffs are expected to join the lawsuit by the end of the year.

khj@yna.co.kr
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