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Struggle intensifies at Hanjin shipyard in Korea

13 July, 2011Some 10,000 people participated on July 9-10 in the "Hope Bus" march to the Hanjin shipyard in Korea to protest against dismissals in breach of their union contract. Riot police blocked and sprayed marchers with teargas fluid in spite of the fact that they had a permit and had informed the police of the march.

SOUTH KOREA: Some 10,000 workers and citizens from every part of Korea participated on the night of July 9-10 in the "Hope Bus" march to the Hanjin shipyard in Korea to protest against dismissals in breach of contract and precarious work at the shipyard, and to make a solidarity visit to hunger-striking protester Kim Jinsuk. After a culture festival at Busan the participants started a candlelight march to the shipyard. One kilometer from the yard riot police blocked the road and opened fire on marchers with water cannons and liquid tear gas.

Kim Jinsuk - see previous article - has been denied access to medical treatment since July 5, when her doctor was physically prevented from seeing her. The company has also stopped her from getting necessities and a recharged mobile phone.  

The president of the Korean national trade union centre KCTU is planning on entering a hunger strike on July 13 to call on the Hanjin Corporation to bargain in good faith.

The Korean Metal Workers' Union (KMWU) will hold a press conference on Thursday to announce protest letters to the Korean president Lee Myung-bak to the press.

The IMF sent a letter to the Korean president on July 4, calling for the Korean government to stop all violence against the workers at Hanjin Heavy Industries shipyard and Yuseong Piston Ring factories, push the companies to start collective bargaining and lift the lock-out, stop the persecution of union officials, members and sympathizers, and respect the ILO conventions on freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.

The IMF, KMWU and Labourstart have launched a campaign calling on the Korean government to end the violence immediately. Join the effort and send your protest NOW! (Click here)

Protest letters were sent also by AMWU and AWU, Australia, CNM/CUT, Brazil, CGT métallurgie, France, IMF-JC, Japan, FIM-CISL, Italy, NTUI, India, Fellesforbundet, Norway, the Pakistan Labour Federation, the Philippine Labour Federation and Metal Workers Alliance, USW Métallos and CAW, Canada, USW, US and Canada, and IG Metall, Germany - among others.

In a parallel development, the US national union centre AFL-CIO, referring to the events at Hanjin and Yuseong, asked US representatives to refuse consideration of a proposed free trade agreement with South Korea until the fundamental rights of South Korean workers to organize and bargain collectively are respected.