The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions went on strike July 20, 2016. Across South Korea, over 50,000 members of KCTU-affiliated unions participated in this strike at 250 work sites in 14 regions. In Seoul, 10,000 workers came together in a rally to demand the end to the Park administration’s on-going enforcement of unjust labor contracts, expansion of the irregular labor force, crackdown on labor movements, and the government’s plans to implement performance-based termination systems across the public sector.
The Korean Railway Workers’ Union (KRWU) specifically raised the issue of the performance-based termination system. The chair of KRWU, Yeong-hoon Kim, stated, “The reality behind the ‘performance-based termination system’ is that it is a process to make way for privatization of the public sector. Plans for privatization of the rail industry have already been confirmed for July.” Kim also warned that railway workers will go on a strike if the government does not stop efforts to privatize public institutions and services. The last time KRWU workers went on strike was three years ago.
On July 22, another KCTU-affiliated union, The Korean Metal Workers’ Union (KMWU), launched the largest strike since 1997. 150,000 workers of KMWU participated in the strike demanding reform of the corporate conglomerates, termination of the government’s unilateral restructuring of labor forces, guarantee of adequate living wages, etc. Workers of Hyundai Motor Company, Kia Motors, General Motors in Korea, Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Heavy Industries made up the 150,000 workers who went on strike. In Seoul, workers of KMWU demonstrated in front of Hyundai and Kia headquarters as well as the Korea Development Bank to make their demands.
KCTU also announced that it will continue the fight by waging another strike in September and mobilizing a mass people power demonstration in November. KCTU plans for the mass people power demonstration to be held on November 12 with over 200,000 people participating.
Featured News & Articles
This article was originally published in The Nation. In less than 12 hours, the leaders of North and South Korea, Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, will meet at the truce village of Panmunjom for a historic summit that could be the start of ending the Korean War. Leading up to the summit, the US mainstream media chose to seek out the so-called “experts” who have often been wrong about the history of negotiations between North Korea and the United States.read more
The struggle against the THAAD continues as over 1,000 riot cops forced 200 residents of Soseong-ri and anti-THAAD activists to disperse from their peaceful protest on April 23. The riot cops were yet again clearing a path for additional construction material and equipment to enter the deployment site of the THAAD missile system.read more