Korean actors union comments on non-payment of drama stars

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Recently reports have surfaced that top stars including Rain, Lee Na Young, Kim Min Jung and Jung Yoo Mi have not been paid for Korean dramas and TV series that they starred in years ago.

In this light, the Korea Broadcasting Actors Union explained how this happened and what action it is taking in order to prevent this in future projects.

"In order to understand why some actors have not been paid for their drama appearances, it's important to understand how the payment process works. For films, payments are made after filming is completed but for dramas, payments are made after a drama is aired," said Song Chang Gon, the union's chief for external relations.

He said for films, the actors are paid after the filming is finished but in the case of dramas, they are paid after the series is aired.

"For example, if an actor films a drama in December and it airs in January, he won't be paid until late-February because payments are made at the end of the month following the broadcast. This system that allows companies to not pay actors until the end of a drama, even if they are done filming, is what has led to this problem," he added.

In the case of the KBS drama "Fugitive: Plan B," which aired in 2010, Rain has yet to be paid while Lee Na Young also has yet to receive her payment amounting to $338,400. Lee Jung Jin, who was also in the series, has not been paid, too, of $32,900.

Ku Hye Sun is owed $240,100 while Jung Yoo Mi's claim is $75,200 for "Master: God of Noodles."

Song Chang Gon said actors under the union have not been paid the total amount of $2.98 million from projects under Korean TV stations MBC, KBS and SBS.

He said that during the presidency of Lee Myung Bak, the union's collective bargaining right has been affected but it was later recognized by the Supreme Court and they are currently awaiting a decision, which is expected to come out in March or April this year.

"Once that has been settled, we will be able to hold group negotiations with broadcasting companies, production companies, and the government on behalf of all our actors, which will make the process easier," he added.

The union is also batting for a clause in standard contracts for actors that will state TV stations will be responsible if an issue arises regarding payment.

"The broadcasting companies need to make changes for this situation to be resolved," he said.