[DEBATE] : Action against TU repression in Korea, November 15th
hypercube at telkomsa.net
Sat Oct 14 07:42:13 BST 2006
COSATU Media Release, 12-Oct-2006 17:00
International Day of Action against trade union repression in Korea,
COSATU has written to the president of the Korean Confederation of Trade
Unions (KCTU) to say that it has learnt with dismay of the situation of our
fraternal trade unionists in South Korea, a developed country which still
denies full trade union rights to its citizens.
COSATU had invited delegates from the KCTU to its 9th Congress, but they
were unable to attend due to the pressure of the trade union struggle in
The recent repressive actions of the South Korean government under the Roh
Moon Hyun administration against two unions in particular are scandalous.
These unions are the KGEU (Korean Government Employees Union) and the KFCITU
(Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Unions).
In the case of the KGEU the South Korean government has launched a fully
fledged attack against the KGEU through a serious of actions, the most
blatant being the coordinated forced closure of all local KGEU union offices
of which there are 251 in the country. On Friday, September 22, the day
after our COSATU 9th Congress closed in Midrand, the South Korean government
sent in thousands of riot police across the country to use any means
necessary to shut down the KGEU union offices.
In the words of a KGEU leader, more than 100 municipalities nation wide
turned into battle fields. By the end of the day out of a total 251 local
union offices, 81 were completely shut down. Many were injured and as a
result some were hospitalised. Some KGEU members and their supporters were
arrested and detained.
Across the country over 100 trade unionists have been imprisoned just for
exercising their fundamental trade union rights---right to organize, the
right to strike, and the right to bargain. The majority of those in jail are
KFCITU members following a series of strikes conducted by KFCITU affiliates.
The government habitually mobilizes thousands of riot police across the
country to forcibly break KFCITU actions and strikes. At times, the police
violence is extreme resulting in many injuries and in the case of Ha Joong
Keun, a tragic death. This trade unionist died from injuries he suffered
after several riot police repeatedly beat him on the head with their metal
The KCTU has developed, and plans to implement, a national, comprehensive,
strategic campaign to mobilize its 800,000 members against the South Korean
governments repressive efforts to undermine fundamental labour rights in
The KCTU will launch a General Strike on November 15 and in conjunction with
this strike, the KCTU calls on the international community to coordinate a
series of actions and events to support their struggle.
COSATU is calling upon all its affiliates, its Alliance partners, and all
civil society and social movements to do whatever they can to show
solidarity with the workers of South Korea, focussing on the November 15th
Day of Action.
Nationally and internationally, an injury to one is an injury to all!
Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets
Tel: +27 11 339-4911/24
Fax: +27 11 339-5080/6940/ 086 603 9667
E-Mail: patrick at cosatu.org.za <mailto:patrick at cosatu.org.za>
Web site at: http://amadlandawonye.wikispaces.com/
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