Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Labor update

Being so busy with school these days, I haven't had much time to update the blog on current events, much less provide analysis. So in the absence of the latter, here are a few links to some current issues brewing, I promise to get back to some analysis of these events in the following weeks, perhaps in the form of a short article.

Kia Workers start Strike -- August 29th
Kia Workers end Strike -- Sept 13th
Major disputes at all Automakers settled -- Sept 15th.

ILO meeting posponment
KCTU/FKTU statement -- Sept 7th
Labor/Management to hold talks -- Sept 20
KCTU and FKTU merging? -- Sept 8th

Other labor issues
Asiana pilots file injunction -- Sept 9th.
Truck driver suicide-protest -- Sept 9th.
Taejon Hotel closes to bust union -- petition (ongoing)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Dirty little deeds

It's been a while since I've posted anything, but this article from a Bangladeshi online paper recently caught my attention via Labourstart.org's Korea newswire. Basically it details the fact that there are a large number of migrant workers from Bangladesh in South Korea facing deportation, but what is novel about this article is that the Korean government has apparently threatened the Bangladesh government because of political activism by Bangladeshi workers in South Korea, notably Anwar Hussain, president of the MTU, and Mohammed Biddut, the now-deported sit-in chief of the old ETU-MB.

What is more disturbing is that the Bangladeshi government has promised to punish Anwar when he is deported and to collude in what looks to be an illegal deportation (as was the case in Bidduth's case). Bidduth, also, was tried under some arcane section of Bangladeshi law for associating with trade unions when he was deported, but, thankfully, the case was thrown out.

Here is an extended quote from the article, the link to which you can find above.

Bangladesh might even lose the lucrative manpower export market in South Korea because a section of Bangladeshi workers are leading workers' agitation on the issue of their rights.

The Korean authorities have already threatened to exclude Bangladesh from the list of countries sending workers, the sources pointed.

A migrant Bangladeshi worker, Anwar Hossain, is president of the Migrant Trade Union, an organisation mostly comprising illegal workers from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal and the Philippines.

The Korean authorities have not recognised the organisation and arrested Anwar in May for illegal stay. They wanted to deport him to Bangladesh but he refused to sign an application form for issuance of travel permit. The Korean ministry of justice also held a meeting with the Bangladesh embassy on May 25 and expressed their displeasure.

The authorities then requested the embassy to persuade Anwar, who stays at Cheongju Immigration Processing centre, to sign the application form. But the embassy also failed to do so, contacted the home ministry in Dhaka and then told the Korean authorities to deport him without any travel permit.

The home ministry will take action against him when he returns to Dhaka, officials said.

Earlier in 2003, another Bangladeshi national in Korea -- Biddut -- had done the same and he was deported.
South Korean investors are also concerned at formation of a trade union by foreign workers, led by a Bangladeshi national. They normally hire foreign workers because they face tremendous pressure from local workers, who belong to strong trade unions.