Photo Essay of KIA’s Dirty Secret: Year-Long Roof-Top Sit-In

Asia-Pacific Research, June 16, 2016
Sit-In-on-the-Roof

In South Korea, temporary employees usually work full-time with lower wages and very little compensation for hard jobs. After two years of employment, these temporary employees are either supposed to be promoted to positions with permanent employment or to be permanently contracted in their current position after 2 years of temporary employment. Corporate employers in South Korea, however, typically violate this obligation. Instead, South Korean corporations simply prolong the temporary contracts of the temporary employees or simply dismiss them from their jobs when the two-year period arrives. This is the reason behind an extraordinary roof-top sit-in protest by two temporary employees of KIA Motors, Choi Jung Myung and Han Gyu Hyup that has lasted over one year. Both men were fired by KIA Motors as soon as they started their roof-top sit-in to bring attention to the conditions of temporary employees in South Korea.

The following is a photographic essay that is based on articles published for South Korean news outlet MinPlus by the two men conducting the roof-top sit-ins against KIA Motors.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Asia-Pacific Research Editor


To read the series of articles published on the sit-ins please visit Mini-Plus:

Diary on the Roof – part 1

Diary on the Roof -part 2

Dairy on the Roof – part 3



Photographs of Choi Jung Myung and Han Gyu Hyup on the roof-top protesting KIA’s employment practices.

Choi Jung Myung and Han Gyu Hyup forced to pull back their placard on a windy day.

Photograph taken from the roof-top of the supports of the KIA Motors temporary employees gathering on the ground on day 324 of the protest.

Photograph taken from the roof-top of the supports of the KIA Motors temporary employees gathering on the ground on World Labour Day.

Choi Jung Myung and Han Gyu Hyup holding the MinPlus logo up to support alternative grassroots media in South Korea.

Meals being pulled up by the protesting KIA Motors temporary employees.

Because of the wind and rain, on some days this can be a dangerous task.

The two sit-in protesters have to pull up their supplies.

Pictures of meals prepared and setup to the sit-in for Children’s Day.

Flowers sent by one of the sons of the two KIA Motors temporary employees.

Musician supporters on the ground playing music in solidarity with the roof-top sit-in.

Musician supporters on the ground playing music in solidarity with the roof-top sit-in.

Supporters of the roof-top sit-in on the ground.

Plants being grown on the roof by the two sit-in protesters.

Plants being grown on the roof by the two sit-in protesters.

Supporters of the KIA Motors temporary employees demanding equal treatment and fair work conditions.


Pastor Whang Nam Deok and the New National Church’s congregation members perform a prayer service for KIA Motors temporary employees.

Shows of public support for the roof-top sit-in.

Shows of public support for the roof-top sit-in.

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