Union leaders in Korea face surveillance, harassment and imprisonment simply for standing up for workers’ rights. This crackdown on dissent is reaching new heights with the investigation of 1,531 people who recently attended a rally, protesting changes to labor laws.
On Nov. 21, the offices of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and its affiliates were raided. Police seized computers, documents and other equipment. Several workers were arrested at that time and a warrant was issued for Han Sang-gyun, KCTU president.
President Han left the temple where he was on a hunger strike and is now under arrest at a police station. The police announced that it will continue the legal action against more union leaders, especially Ms. Lee, Young-ju, the general secretary and Ms. Bae, Tae-sun, executive director of the Organization and Collective Action Department of the KCTU. This followed the arrests of members and officials from Korean Federation of Public Services and Transportation Workers’ Unions and the tower crane branch of the Korean Construction Workers’ Union.
These brave union leaders need you to stand with them. Send a message to the Korean government that we stand in solidarity with trade union activists.
The International Labor Organization has, on several occasions, condemned the government of Korea for its serious violations of the right to freedom of association and to bargain collectively. Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, said, “The Korean government is acting in a dictatorial and abusive manner to its own people, using arrest and imprisonment to back employers who refuse to respect basic rights to union representation and collective bargaining. Korea is betraying its commitments at the ILO and the OECD to uphold international labor standards. This is a very dangerous path for any country. We call on the government to recognize that it is behaving in a manner that contradicts core principles of democracy and to cease its attack on fundamental liberties.”
Please support the KCTU general strike today by joining the LabourStart campaign.