Sunday, July 23, 2006

POSCO strike over, union leaders under arrest

Well, the irregular worker strike is over at POSCO for the moment. There were some last minute negotiations and the union left without being attacked, it seems. However, the government is now going after the leadership. Here is an update from the Hankyoreh:

Warrant sought for striking construction workers
Union members occupied company office for over a week

Arrest warrants were sought for members of the Pohang construction workers’ union who occupied the local headquarters of Posco, a major South Korean steel manufacturer, for more than a week.

On July 23, local police in North Gyeongsang Province asked a court to issue arrest warrants for 58 union leaders, including Lee Ji-kyung, 39, head of the Pohang construction union, and a 45-year-old official of the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions, only identified as his surname Kim. The charges range from assault to interfering with business.

In addition, police were investigating without detention a total of 79 union members on the same charges, and are looking for four leaders of the Pohang construction union, including a 40-year-old deputy leader of the union, only identified as Ji.

The four union leaders "are suspected of illegally occupying Posco headquarters since the afternoon of July 13 and interfering with the company’s operations while destroying office materials," police said. The union ended their occupation on July 21.

The number of those who will face charges is expected to rise as police plan to summon about 2,400 union workers who have since returned home as "simple participants" in the activities.

Meanwhile, Posco plans to resume operations at its headquarters from July 24 after completing a large-scale cleanup of the building by July 23.

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