KBS has come under fire for their decision to continue working through the Lunar New Year holiday.
A labor union representative spoke out on behalf of the KBS employees on January 23, stating that, “KBS is the only broadcaster who is airing dramas according to the usual schedule. MBC will be on hiatus this week, airing movies instead of a new episode of ‘No Second Chance.’ SBS will also not be airing a new episode of ‘Hot Stove League,’ instead airing special broadcasts [that were prepared ahead of time]. But KBS has announced that they will continue filming through the holiday to air the new episode of ‘Love is Beautiful, Life is Wonderful’ according to schedule.”
The representative continued, “The filming schedule for ‘Love is Beautiful, Life is Wonderful’ has been notoriously extreme since [the drama premiered] last year. Even as other broadcasters reduce their filming schedules to 14 to 16 hour workdays, KBS continues to maintain an 18 hour workday. But even then, they say it’s 18 hours, but then when you figure in the time it takes to get to the filming location, wrap up filming, and edit all of the scenes, you get something closer to 24 hours of labor. Isn’t this too much, no matter what drama you’re filming for?”
The labor union continued its statement, saying that KBS should have given their staff a holiday and the chance to rest like other broadcasters, and that they should have figured the holiday into the filming schedule beforehand. “[KBS] has created an environment where it’s difficult for staff to speak out against the rigorous schedule for fear of appearing as a slacker or not dedicated enough among their peers. It’s an exploitation of the staff.”
The representative wrapped up their statement by concluding, “Because KBS is a public broadcaster, they should be doing everything in their power to protect the public nature of their programming. The universal and fair labor standards clearly state that a person should be working only eight hours a day, five days a week. They should get rid of the excuse that broadcasts are ‘special exceptions’ and allow their staff to take the holiday.”
The news of KBS staff working through the holiday is especially egregious, considering the Lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays in Korean society.
KBS responded to the labor union’s statement, with the production team behind “Love is Beautiful, Life is Wonderful” stating, “Currently the filming crew works 16 hour days, 52 hours a week. Moving forward we will make every effort to comply with labor standards.”
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