New Humanity Movement

Economy and Work

breadThe couple Joseph and Amata own a bakery, which boosts of a long tradition. They strive to promote brotherhood in their environment, knowing that their work is beneficial to all the community of their area. To achieve their objective they sometimes need to go ‘against the current’ with respect to the accepted customs. This has proved to be the right way to go on many occasions, especially difficult ones.

by Joseph e Amata - Korea

 


Joseph: Our bakery was founded 49 years ago; presently it employs about 100. From my childhood I was struck by my father’s example who, being a profound believer, used to share his goods with the others. Then, when I came in contact with the Ideal of Universal Brotherhood, I decided to manage our firm according to the principle that the new life taught me.

Amata: Thanks to this new way of living I understood that the goods and the talents that God gave me were not meant for my exclusive use and that of my family, but for the common good. I was encouraged by the fact that we were many in this endeavour. Our love became more delicate not only towards our clients, but also towards our employees and our suppliers. In each person we saw a brother or a sister that merited to work in a good environment and to have adequate time to rest.

Joseph: I asked myself what it meant to act according to the ideal of brotherhood. I am a believer and I understood that Jesus was a worker too; to be a good worker, according to my religion, I had to respect the law, paying all due taxes. Business and economy need to reflect the new life based on the Gospel. However, after paying all the taxes, we ended up with no profits at all.

We found ourselves in financial difficulties. Many would advise us not to pay the full amount of the taxes. Yet we were convinced that the Gospel words were true even today. To better our city we needed, first of all, to be coherent with ourselves, and this meant doing our best to respect the law.

After some time things got better; now the firm is doing well. Often, during seminars on the management of bakeries, we are pointed out as models, seeing our success and our healthy relationship with our employees. Our work ethos is seen as ideal and many express their desire to know more about it.

Amata: Together with Joseph, each morning we strive to start living according our Ideal. Sometimes, however, problems arise among the workers. Some claim that they have the heaviest job to do. We realised that this happens because they do not really know each other. Thus we started an in-house newsletter in which we explained the difficulties and the tasks of the various sectors. We noticed that, thanks to this newsletter, many barriers between the workers were demolished, and they started to appreciate the work of each other.

We launched an innovative way of packing a product; it proved so successful that other firms throughout the country adopted it. The container was our invention, and we could have patented it. However, our supplier asked us to allow him to use it all over the country, and we gave our assent. We suffered no loss; on the contrary, our sales increased: it was the hundredfold.

The original container was made of polyester that guaranteed low temperatures for long periods. However, to safeguard our environment, we went for cardboard, even if the conservation period is shorter.

In 2005 an extensive fire damaged our factory. Joseph and our daughter were out of town on that day. Watching the smoke bellowing upwards, I felt helpless, and went running into church. I prayed: “Lord, you are my only good”, and I dried my tears. Then I called Joseph and the many friends who share our way of life. Some of the workers were crying openly, while the majority did their best to extinguish the fire.

The following day I could see that the damage was far more serious than previously thought. Joseph and I realised that this was an occasion to witness the life of true Christians. Even this was an opportunity to better our city, even though we did not know ‘how’.

The employees were surprised to see us serene, and they started to clean up the mess. The restaurant was spared; here the employees served food and drinks to the workers doing the cleaning. The relationship between the employees and with us grew immensely.

seoulJoseph: The employees put up a poster saying: ‘We will rebuild the firm from the ashes’. They worked throughout the night to produce bread. It was not an easy situation, but we found a lot of strength in the way our workers responded. As if by some miracle, only four days after the fire, production was slowly coming back to normal. It was something that was really surprising. For me this was simply due to the new relationship that we had built with our employees. The emotions were too great not to cry.

We then had to face the difficulties with the insurance company and the investigation to determine what caused the fire. The owners of the factory next door, where the fire started, claimed that the fault was ours. We prepared all the relative documents for the civil lawsuit, all the time trying to establish the truth while respecting our ‘adversaries’.

During the trial, which we eventually won, there were many difficult moments, especially when our ‘adversaries’ tried to illegally claim more money from the insurance company, something not new to this country.

Amata: After some months we started to rebuild our factory; we involved in this project all our employees. Thus they all felt protagonists of this new venture. Building during the hottest period of the summer was not easy; yet we started each day with enthusiasm, consulting each other as often as possible. After working hard for a whole day, our employees would have a smile that reflected their hope. We did a good job and finished the work on time.

The day prior to the official opening we held a party among us. We felt we were one and we shed tears because the emotions were running high. On the day of the official opening, we were all moved when one employee said that now our firm has become a family.
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