IndustriALL and global unions rally in support of Korea general strike

30.11.2016

IndustriALL Global Union, BWI, IUF, PSI and Uni Global Union joined forces today in a rally in Geneva, calling for an end to the Korean government’s attack on unions and labour rights. The manifestation was a show of support for the hundreds of thousands of Korean workers who are striking today, 30 November.

We have promised the jailed unionists and our affiliates in Korea that we will use our global force to support them and we are part of the movement calling for President Park to step down

says Valter Sanches, IndustriALL general secretary.

President Park has attempted to make changes to Korean labour law that include permitting firing without due process, cutting wages for senior employees and allowing more outsourcing. According to the federal prosecutor, Korean multinationals like Samsung, Hyundai and LG have paid bribes to foundations controlled by an ally of Park in exchange for support for anti-labour policies and other favours.

Concerned with the rollback of rights that have taken place in Korea over the last couple of years, around a hundred people from global unions marched together to Korea’s permanent mission in Geneva to deliver a letter to the ambassador.

Under President Park, the Korean government has introduced restrictions on the right to strike, hundreds of trade unionists have been arrested, more than twenty still remain in jail and union offices have been ransacked.

Valter Sanches continues:

The attacks on the labour movement must end immediately. Today, we are mobilizing to support the Korean unions and to show President Park the force of the global labour movement, calling for her resignation.

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions had called for a general strike today, 30 November, to fight back against President Park and her government’s attacks on unions and labour. KCTU’s president, Han Sang-Gyun, is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for his role in organizing a people’s protest of 100,000 people in 2015.

Trade unions around the world have joined in the global action to support the plight of the Korean union movement by making their voices heard; 76 unions in 45 countries have sent letters to President Park, supporting the general strike, social media has been used to share photos with the hashtag #KoreaGeneralStrike, and action has been taken at Korean owned workplaces like at Hyundai plants in Brazil and outside Korean embassies.