Thursday, June 28, 2007

Daum closes union site, metal workers strike against FTA, Everland blues

[Update: July 8th] From the comment below it seems that the government and business are now arresting unionists for damages and political action before they have a chance to strike. Arrests with a similar determination seem to have been targeted at the Korean People's Alliance against the Korea US FTA last week, with their offices raided and two of their organizers arrested.

A quick roundup of some recent stories:

1) Seems that Daum, Korea's largest internet portal, has closed down the site of unionist trying to form a union at their company. This case should perhaps become a landmark freedom of association case if taken up by the NHRC, we'll just have to wait and see.

2) Metalworkers are continuing a fairly large strike against the FTA. As usual the government is planning police action against them. There have also been small backlash protests, reported more that the actual strikes themselves, against the unionist for striking over what does not appear to be a workplace issue -- ruling groups love to set what they see as the acceptable (at best, enterprise unionism) and unacceptable (any wider form of social solidarity) forms of unionism.

3) Both the Korean times and MWTV have been reporting on the plight of foreign workers who put on the dancing shows and other events at Samsung Everland. All this after the Migrant Trade Union began its campaign to draw attention on the sorts of abuses that have been happening there. Read more over at the CINA blog.

1 comment:

  1. From the KCTU:

    On 27 June – 28 June, the South Korean government speedily issued arrest warrants for the KMWU President, First Vice President, and General Secretary on the national level, and every single chairperson of all 14 KMWU Regional Branches. Arrest warrants were then issued for 6 KMWU Hyundai Motors Branch top officers as well as for 4 officers of the KMWU Branch at Kia Motors. Thus, in the run-up to the 29 June demonstration, already 27 KMWU national, regional and enterprise-level leadership were wanted by the government for arrest. Employers have filed damages claims for losses, resulting in the government opening investigations for possible "criminal obstruction of business" of 67 KMWU leaders at regional, national and local level because of the strike, thereby opening the path for police interference into union affairs and harassment of union leaders.

    27 Arrest Warrants (criminal obstruction of business by holding a strike) ...

    National Level: KMWU President, First Vice President, General Secretary (3 persons)

    Regional Branch Level: Chairs of all 14 KMWU Regional Branches (14 persons)

    Enterprise Branch Level: All six officers of the KMWU Hyundai Motors Branch and 4 officers of the KMWU Kia Motors Branch (10 persons)

    67 Summons for Police Intelligence Unit Investigation (criminal obstruction of business by holding a strike) ...

    National Level: All KMWU National Elected Officers (9 persons)

    Regional Branch Level: All 14 KMWU Regional Branch Chairs and 10 officers from the Ulsan Regional Branch (24 persons)

    Enterprise Branch Level: 23 KMWU Hyundai Motors Branch officers and 8 KMWU Kia Motors Branch officers (31 persons)

    Local Level: 3 officers of KMWU Kyeongnam Branch, Rothem Local (3 persons)

    In particular, the speed with which all the summons were served and how quickly the courts authorized all 27 arrest warrants cannot help but raise suspicions that instead of handling this in normal procedural channels where police must justify the arrest warrant, the arrest warrants and summons for KMWU were somehow fast-tracked through with an urgency stemming from the politically motivated goal of blocking the workers' efforts to voice their concerns to the public.