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IndustriALL marches with one million Koreans demanding labour rights, democracy

13 November, 2016IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches today offered solidarity from workers around the world at a rally with 200,000 participants organized by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions in Seoul.

Sanches and other members of a global solidarity mission then marched through the streets with one million Koreans in the People’s Mass Mobilization organized by unions and broader civil society.

The rally was called to oppose the regressive labour reforms proposed by Korean President Park Geun-hye and to demand for the immediate release of all workers detained for trade union activities.

The rally and the People’s Mass Mobilization rang with repeated calls of “Park Geun-hye resign!” This call follows a recent corruption scandal in which corporations including Hyundai and Samsung paid massive bribes to foundations controlled by an ally of Park in exchange for support for anti-labour policies and other favors.

“IndustriALL Global Union supports the call of Korean trade unions for President Park to resign immediately,” stated Sanches. “Park has long opposed workers’ rights, and now we know this is partly due to her corrupt ties with anti-union corporations.”

IndustriALL has offered extensive support to Korean unions since Park initiated a brutal crackdown on workers last November. This includes multiple solidarity delegations, letter writing campaigns and demonstrations.

The IndustriALL Congress recently passed an Emergency Resolution calling for an escalation in this support. IndustriALL and IndustriALL affiliate UAW met during the mission with IndustriALL Korean affiliates KMWU, FKMTU, FKCU and KCTWF to discuss possible actions.

Participants in the mission also expressed solidarity at the Seoul Detention Center with imprisoned trade union leaders including KCTU President Han Sang-gyun, who was given a five-year sentence this July.

The solidarity mission included IndustriALL and UAW as well as BWI, CGIL, ITF, ITUC, IUF, SEIU, TUAC and UNI.

KCTU announced at its rally that it will immediately begin preparations for a general strike in Korea to take place in the coming weeks. The strike will include union members, students, farmers, small shop owners and progressive organizations.

“IndustriALL stands in full solidarity with Korean unions and will mobilize its affiliates around the world to take action in support of the general strike,” added Sanches.