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Violent attack against Korean unionists must stop

8 June, 2023Two unionists from the Federation of Korean Metalworkers’ Trade Unions (FKMTU) were injured after they were violently attacked by Korean police.

While visiting a sit-in protest of FKMTU members working at POSCO steel mill in Gwangyang on 31 May, FKMTU president Kim Man-jae was manhandled. Six plain-clothes police officers pressed Kim on to the ground and kneeled on his neck before handcuffing him.
The following day, FKMTU secretary-general Kim Jun-yeong joined the sit-in protest on a makeshift scaffolding, seven metres above ground. At dawn, four police officers approached Kim with a mobile crane, striking Kim Jun-yeong with a long stick until he fell down from the scaffolding. Kim suffered severe injuries to his forehead and head, a fractured knee and bruises all over his body. He was taken into police custody.
The Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU) has condemned the police for their excessive use of force against the two FKMTU leaders, calling for the immediate resignation of the Chief of the National Police Agency.

“This bloody incident tarnishes the international image of Korea. We demand that the Korean government respect workers’ freedom of expression and cease the violent attack against Korean labour unions. IndustriALL stands in solidarity with FKMTU,”

says Shinya Iwai, IndustriALL Global Union regional secretary for South East Asia.