The Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) has apologized for and promised to take corrective measures for staff members’ overtime wages.

It was recently revealed that the festival’s board of directors held a meeting on November 14, where they discussed the matter of overtime pay due to staff members and short-term contract employees.

On November 16, a source from the BIFF board of directors stated, “We are thankful for the hard work of the staff who did their best. We express our regret not only regarding the overtime pay, but also for not being able to prepare prior to the event. We will do our best to correct wrongful practices occurring both inside and outside of the film festival.”

The source addressed the issue of the unpaid overtime wages, saying, “After discussing with the city of Busan over securing financial resources, we will take corrective measures without delay. Along with the other international film festivals held in Korea, we are seeking joint discussions to improve the working environments of staff members as well as to guarantee wages. We will work to construct a safe working environment for our staff members.”

Previously, it was belatedly revealed that 149 staff members were owed a total of 124 million won (approximately $109,000) in overtime wages. The matter received public criticism, as the unpaid wages were accepted as an obvious practice within the festival’s administration.

Assemblyman Lee Yong Deuk of the Democratic Party of Korea, and a member of the National Assembly’s Environment and Labor Committee, demanded immediate special labor supervision regarding BIFF at the inspection of the Employment and Labor administration last month.

The assemblyman criticized the film festival’s administration and stated, “BIFF should either think only of the budget, or immediately stop making excuses on a liberal company culture, immediately pay the staff their overdue wages, and eradicate the commonly practiced free overtime. The city of Busan should also stop being a spectator in the issue of overdue wages and actively work to protect the staff’s labor rights.”

It was also revealed that while BIFF had not paid the staff’s overdue wages, it had spent over 180 million won (approximately $159,000) on an internal event.

Source (1)