Thursday, November 16, 2006

The warning strike and after

Here is my post for interlocals on yesterday's warning strike.

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) held a warning strike yesterday in protest of several pressing labour issues including: the negotiation of the Korea US Free Trade Agreement, the signing of a tripartite agreement without consent or participation of the KCTU, the expanse of irregular work and oppression against their organizations and the sorry state of workers accident insurance and workers compensation.

The Korea Herald reported that, in all, 57,000 workers joined the four hour strike, though the KCTU reported that substantially more participated. Several more thousand rallied in front of the National Assembly during the afternoon and then marched to the headquarters of the ruling Uri Party where a vigil was held into the evening.

Originally, Wednesday's event was supposed to be the beginning of an indefinite strike but that event has been delayed to November 22nd. This was partially as a response to media criticisms of the KCTU's choice of the 15th, as it is the day that national university entrance exams begin, but also the decision to delay the indefinite strike was also declared as a way to give the government time to respond to the four major criticisms the KCTU voiced yesterday before deciding on further action. If the indefinite strike begins on the 22nd, KCTU workers will be joined by lots of other protest groups, including farmers and student groups, who will making that day an omnibus event against the FTA. The nation's police are already up in arms about what could turn out to be one of the largest protest of the year, following large anti-FTA protest and heavy police response in July.

In addition to Wednesdays protest, there were also solidarity actions in Australia and in other cities world-wide. Finally, the KCTU recently put out a film about Korea's labour relations issues, 10 years after the OECD: trade union repression in Korea which you can watch over at the Christian's CINA blog.

1 comment:

  1. Informative, thanks Jamie. Looks like I'll be 'sick' Wednesday ...