1 December, 2016Global support for the general strike in Korea shows trade union solidarity reaches far and wide. Korean unions are under heavy attack from the government and unions and workers around the world have responded in force.
Struggling against the President Park’s attacks on labour rights in South Korea, unions in the country held a general strike for workers’ rights on 30 November. Deemed illegal by the Ministry of Employment and Labour, the strike still went ahead.
220,000 union members, many from IndustriALL affiliates, participated in the strike. Around 60,000 people rallied in various cities in Korea, of which 20,000 in the capital Seoul, calling for the immediate resignation of the President and the abolishment of her government’s labour hostile policies.
Support for Korean unions was endorsed during the IndustriALL 2nd Congress in Rio, where a solidarity resolution was adopted. Consequently,
IndustriALL called for global action to support the Korean unions, including sending a protest letter addressed to President Park, taking action at Korean Embassies or Consulates or corporations, as well as encouraging supporters to take selfies with a protest sign and circulate online.
During the last couple of weeks, several hundred people from more than 30 countries have taken a stand on social media, supporting the general strike to defend workers’ rights in Korea.
Eighty-six unions in 48 countries have sent protest letters to President Park, expressing support for the general strike and calling for her immediate resignation.
North American affiliates USW and UAW delivered a protest letter and met with the South Korean Embassy in Washington DC.
Thai unions affiliated to IndustriALL and the Confederation of Industrial Labour Thailand (CILT) met with the South Korean Embassy in Bangkok to deliver a protest letter.
In Geneva, IndustriALL marched with other global unions to the South Korean Mission to deliver a protest letter.
Unions in Brazil held a protest at Hyundai plants in Anapolis and San Léopold.
IndustriALL General Secretary Valter Sanches says:
We will use the force of our affiliates to fight for union rights. The situation in Korea is made worse by the President’s implication in the corruption scandal, where multinationals like Samsung and Hyundai have bribed the government to adopt anti-labour legislation. President Park must resign immediately.
Korean unions are planning another rally on 3 December. It will be the sixth consecutive mass demonstration against the corrupt President and is expected to attract at least 100,000 participants.