“It’s not just Coupang’s problem…an invisible blacklist of platform companies”

“It’s not just Coupang’s problem…an invisible blacklist of platform companies”

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An ‘invisible blacklist’ created by an algorithm
“If delivery is even slightly late, your account will be suspended”
“Massive surveillance by platform companies, possible violation of the Personal Information Protection Act”

“I feel like I am being disciplined by the platform company while being completely naked.”

Mr. A, a designated driver, testified that there is a blacklist in the designated driving industry as well. One day he got into a petty argument with his guest. Not long after, I received a call from a designated driver company that had received a complaint from a customer. The company told Mr. A to apologize to the customer as it was the driver’s fault anyway. Feeling unfair, he tried to complain, but he was told, ‘The driver doesn’t seem to be a good fit for our company, so we will suspend his account.’

Photo = Getty Image Bank

Mr. A was angry and responded by telling him to do so. I thought I could just go to another company and work. However, Mr. A said, “I only found out later.” The account was suspended for some reason by the company in question, and it was also being shared with other companies. He complained, “The article information is being passed on to other companies,” and “I tried to receive a call from another company, but they refused to dispatch the call, citing the past history of account suspensions from other companies.”

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, the Public Transport Workers’ Union, the Coupang Countermeasures Committee, and Platform Labor Hope Search jointly held a discussion session on ‘Blacklists as a tool to control workers in platform companies’ at the National Assembly Hall on the morning of the 3rd, jointly with Reps. Yang Kyung-gyu and Shim Sang-jeong of the Green Justice Party and Rep. Kang Seong-hee of the Progressive Party. They pointed out that the blacklist problem is not limited to Coupang. It is claimed that platform companies are operating an ‘invisible blacklist’ by not providing work to workers.

A debate held at the National Assembly Hall in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul on the 3rd. Provided by Green Justice Party Rep. Yang Kyung-gyu’s office

Oh Min-gyu, executive director of Platform Labor Hope Search, emphasized that blacklisting is a common phenomenon for many platform workers, such as designated drivers and delivery riders. Executive Director Oh said, “Platform workers, including riders, who work through delivery platforms work with the fear that they may not receive work at any time.” He pointed out that “accounts can be suspended at any time due to real-time evaluation of the algorithm.” In Coupang, middle managers decide whether to black (exit from the platform), but the only difference is that the algorithm takes over that role in the platform.

On the 3rd, food delivery workers are riding motorcycles to deliver food to a residential area in Seoul. Newsis

They criticized that the large-scale surveillance and personal information collection system violates not only the Personal Information Protection Act, but also international conventions prohibiting discrimination in employment and the Labor Relations Act. Kim Hye-jin, executive chairman of the Coupang Countermeasures Committee, pointed out, “Ordinary companies blacklist people who were fired for participating in union activities, but platform companies are more serious in that they list all people who have the potential to do so.” Jeong Seong-yong, head of the Coupang Logistics Center branch, also explained, “If you don’t follow the instructions of the site manager, you won’t be able to come to work tomorrow and will have no choice but to be permanently blacklisted, so joining a union is unthinkable.”

Lawyers for a Democratic Society (Minbyun) Lawyers for a Democratic Society (Minbyun) Coupang Blacklist Legal Response Team Attorney Lee Soo-yeol said, “The blacklist, which platform companies claim is legal, is a serious violation of rights and interests such as employment ban, and clear standards, reasons, and even the disposition itself are not disclosed to the parties. “These serious disadvantageous measures are left to the arbitrary judgment of platform companies,” he pointed out. He continued, “It is not simply for the purpose or extent of reference for hiring, but it is a blatant act of employment interference in a way that employment is immediately prohibited as soon as you are listed on the list, regardless of the reason,” and “The platform company has been blocking employment applicants for at least three years.” “If you use the data as a blacklist without destroying it, you will be subject to a fine,” he added.

Photo = Yonhap News

An official from the Ministry of Employment and Labor who attended the debate on this day said that it would be difficult to reveal a specific position as complaints and accusations are in progress related to the Coupang blacklist case. Platform Labor Hope Finder said, “As the enforcement ordinance of the Personal Information Protection Act has changed, we plan to take legal action against platform companies for attempts to control workers through the data generated by labor.”

Reporter Junho Yoon [email protected]

[ⓒ 세계일보 & Segye.com, 무단전재 및 재배포 금지]

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