Korea General Strike

The government of Park Geun-hye has moved swiftly to attack trade unions, deregistering the teachers union, prohibiting the registration of the government employees’ union, and declaring illegal an important rail strike against privatization.

The leaders of the rail union have been arrested and charged under the long-criticized “obstruction of business” provision of the penal code, and the union and leaders face crushing fines. Earlier this year, the ITUC travelled to Korea, with ITF and PSI, to support Korean trade unionists as they confront an all-out assault by the government and employers on their rights.

“The broad mobilization of unions and civil society, which starts today, is an important step in the trade unions’ campaign to claim their rights at work and indeed for all people to take a stand against repression and for an economy and society that delivers for all,” explained Sharan Burrow. “We are appalled that 15 labour leaders and activists are now in jail, prison or out on bail facing criminal charges for engaging in industrial action that would be legal elsewhere in the world. The government continues its course of action despite repeated and clear direction from the ILO to amend the law and to stop jailing workers for engaging in peaceful trade union activity.”

The ITUC calls on the government to stop repression of the labour movement and to respect fundamental rights.

Messages to the Park Administration calling on them to release the jailed union leaders and to drop the charges may be sent via LabourStart