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Akzo Nobel Korea refuses to recognize IndustriALL affiliate KCTF

11 August, 2014Korean workers at Akzo Nobel Powder Coatings Korea are being refused their right to collective bargaining after successfully organizing a majority of the 115-strong workforce. IndustriALL is intervening.

The Korean Chemical & Textiles Workers’ Federation (KCTF) organized 62 of the 115 employees at Akzo Nobel Korea, with the new local officially forming on 10 May 2014. Two days later the local sent their written demand to management as to begin collective bargaining towards establishing a collective agreement.

However, instead of respecting international standards and national Korean labour legislation, local management employed delaying tactics and hired a union-busting law firm. Now, as management refuses to attend bargaining meetings, international support is required.

In today’s support letter to KCTF, IndustriALL general secretary Jyrki Raina wrote:

I am shocked and angered to hear of the reaction of the plant level management and will be taking up my concern with the top management of Akzo Nobel.

This bad corporate behaviour is in breach of numerous important international labour standards as well as the national Korean labour law. It is unacceptable.

The main concerns for employees at Akzo Nobel Korea, until being denied their fundamental right to bargain collectively, were: wages, working hours, retirement age, noise levels, industrial disease.

Union requests for meetings were ignored for 12 May, 28 May, 3 June and 13 June. Finally management attended a meeting with the new KCTF local on 23 June, but management showed zero commitment to bargain in good faith with the union. The notorious union busting attorneys were sent to represent the company in the next bargaining meeting on 8 August.

Additionally, the management has blocked the local union from installing a union notice board inside the factory, and tried to prohibit the local union leaders from wearing their union name tags. While several months have passed since the union demanded a sincere negotiation, the management is still failing to show any sincere commitment to bargain in good faith with the union.