Participants at IndustriALL Global Union’s Executive Committee in Geneva today (26 June) made a stand against Samsung in support of Korean workers who are fighting for the right to join a union and earn a living wage.
Unionists from IndustriALL’s affiliates at the global union's Executive Committee in Geneva, Switzerland, posed for photographs to show their solidarity for the Samsung workers.
Samsung has a 75-year no union policy but IndustriALL affiliate, the Korean Metal Workers’ Union (KMWU), has defied the diktat by forming the Samsung Electronics Service Workers’ Local. It is the first mass-membership union at Samsung in Korea.
The KMWU local has been in a labour dispute with the firm for several months, with rolling strikes demanding that Samsung end poverty wages, respect trade union rights and conclude a collective bargaining agreement for the 1600 unionized workers.
After months of avoiding collective bargaining, Samsung began retaliating against the workers by reassigning their jobs to the non-unionized and closing three of the unionized centers (Haeundae Center, Asan Center, Icheon Center) with mass dismissal of those workers in March.
Driven to despair by the company's behaviour, 33-year-old KMWU local union leader, Ho-seok Yeom, committed suicide on 17 May 2014. He left a note asking that his body be left in state and not be cremated until the struggle for union rights at Samsung succeeds. Despite this, police forces absconded with his body by force.
The disrespect towards the demised leader's dying wish and the increasing repressions towards trade unionists point that South Korea is sliding to its authoritarian past. International support is urgently needed. Support the campaign and sign the LabourStart petition.