#KoreaGeneralStrike: Korean unions fight back
As I noted in my blog in July South Korea’s trade unions have been subject to a sustained attack . Under President Park, trade unionists are being sent to prison for carrying out normal trade union activities.KCTU President Han Sang-Gyun has been imprisoned for five years in the Seoul Detention Centre for helping to organise public protests. Han is one of twenty union leaders currently in prison.
In the face of this repression the Korean national trade union centre KCTU has announced a general strike on 30 November to protest against the government’s labour policies.
President Park is already under intense pressure over allegations of corruption including illicit payments by Korean “chaebol” conglomerates including scandal-ridden Samsung. The national parliament has now appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the allegations. Currently President Park is refusing to talk to prosecutor on the basis she is far too busy, presumably oppressing her country’s trade unions.
Samsung and other chaebols, with opaque governance practices and riddled with nepotism, are coming under intense scrutiny, including for their covert relationships with Park’s entourage. Korean companies such as Samsung and LG are well known for their opposition to unions in their supply chains, with supplier companies closely monitored for any sign of workers organising. Suppliers know that if a union is formed, their company faces exclusion from the supply chain. Hyundai too has engaged in union-busting in its supplier companies.
If you want to know how you can express solidarity with South Korean trade unionists go to IndustriALL.