Hanjin Heavy Industries insists on dismissals in breach of contract, despite huge company profits and payment of generous dividends and bonuses to owners and senior company executives. KMWU continues its fight to protect the interests of workers. A Hope Bus Rally is planned in Seoul on August 27 to 28 under the theme "Another World is Possible!
KOREA: Hanjin Heavy Industries Group earlier announced that 400 workers at the Hanjin shipyard would be dismissed. With threats of firings the company obtained 230 "voluntary resignations". In the end, the company dismissed 170 workers against their will and in breach of contract. Some of them accepted Hanjin's pay package but still continue to support the struggle and hope for reinstatement. However, the company claims that they have renounced their rights.
On August 18 a parliamentary hearing on the Hanjin mass dismissals was organized. This was the first time in 14 years that the Korean National Assembly called a chairman of one of the Korean Chaebols - the powerful single-family-owned conglomerates - before a parliamentary committee to explain their actions. During the hearing, Hanjin Heavy chairman CHO clung inflexibly to his original positions.
National assembly members called on the Hanjin Heavy Industries Group Chair to withdraw the 170 dismissals, or at least reconsider them for the 94 workers who didn't accept the company's pay packages, and enter open-ended discussions with the union to find a solution. However CHO, Nam ho refused to do this.
After the hearing the KMWU has hardened its stance. Instead of calling on Chairman CHO to solve the problem, KMWU now asks the government to take CHO to court for the illegal mass dismissals that he could not justify with concrete or specific information before the National Assembly of South Korea.
On August 20 some 10,000 workers and supporters demonstrated in Seoul at the KCTU "National Workers' Rally against the government's anti-worker, Chaebol-driven policy and for a trial of the LEE Myung Bak Regime." Students, civic groups and the larger public joined the all-night and two-day Hope Assembly. Riot police blocked the passage of the Assembly participants for some 3 hours - giving rise to spontaneous rallies in the streets as participants waited to enter Seoul Plaza - but the gathering could not be stopped. The leaders of Korea's 6 opposition parties conveyed their support to the workers.
4th Hope Bus rally in Seoul
KMWU members will be joining a 4th Hope Bus in Seoul on August 27 to 28 under the theme "Another World is Possible!"
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