Samsung Card seeks spinoff to regularize contract staff

SEOUL, Dec. 6 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Card Co., the credit card unit of South Korea's largest conglomerate Samsung Group, plans to spin off its customer service division in a bid to regularize its temporary workers, company sources said Friday.

The company has informed the Financial Supervisory Service of the plan to launch the new affiliate at the start of next year, the sources said. Samsung Card will hold a full stake in the subsidiary, which will operate its call center.

"We found it necessary to launch the call center as a separate affiliate due to the rising demand for client services and the heightened awareness of consumer protection," a Samsung Card official said.

The move is expected to regularize some 1,300 contract-based staff, who account for 43 percent of the firm's workforce.

It will mark the first time for a South Korean credit card company to regularize its call center workers. Firms here generally prefer to outsource or hire irregular staff to cut costs.

Samsung Card's latest move is also in line with the government's effort to curb the number of irregular workers, which has been a burning issue for the country's labor sector.

South Korea has the fourth-highest ratio of temporary employees among the 34 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, meaning many employees face unstable and unequal working conditions.

According to the OECD, the ratio of temporary workers in South Korea to the total workforce stood at 21.3 percent in 2010.

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