IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, the Korea Chemical & Textile Workers’ Federation (KCTF), is fighting back against management at an Akzo Nobel plant in South Korea as labour relations are steadily worsening, and have even resulted in violence against workers. IndustriALL is calling on the Dutch chemical giant to intervene to stop the blatant violations of trade union rights.
Akzo Nobel management at the South Korean plant have consistently refused to engage directly with the unions, instead hiring a labour attorney against the union's protests.
After mediation by the ministry of employment and labour, the employer committed to engage in “collective bargaining in sincerity and faith”, but relations have since deteriorated.
In July, wage negotiations were halted. And, in total disregard of the collective agreement, the employer is hiring more and more contract workers, undermining the working conditions of permanent workers and weakening the ability of the union to achieve the implementation of the legitimate demands of workers.
On 22 July a partial strike was launched. A local union leader was injured and hospitalized for more than a week as a result of physical attack when management tried to remove union posters.
The KCTF is asking management to resume wage negotiations and to stop the systematic violation of basic occupational safety and health standards at the plant. The union has also sent a letter to the Dutch ambassador to Korea, asking for a constructive solution to the conflict.
IndustriALL general secretary Jyrki Raina is also calling for immediate remedial measures:
We strongly urge Akzo Nobel to intervene immediately at its Ansan plant in South Korea to ensure that Akzo Nobel Korea’s management act in strict accordance with national and international labour laws, and in consequence engage in genuine collective bargaining and wage negotiations while stopping from attacking workers and union members.