Sunday, September 16, 2007

More on the E-Land Struggle

From a reader:

At 1 AM on the night of Sunday Sept. 16 over 100 strikers of the E-Land/Homever stores in South Korea occupied a store in the Seoul suburbs, hoping to shut down Sunday shopping. The strike has been going on for 2 1/2 months and has been losing momentum. If you have not seen the video about the strike, watch it here [English Subtitles]. [You can also watch a video of the arrests here].

The riot police showed up at 3:00 AM and arrested about70 workers staging the occupation, and arrested more strikers and supporters outside.

Further attempts at disrupting stores are planned for the coming week, just prior to Chusok) holiday, a major shopping day.

Rain Sunday afternoon partially prevented a shutdown of a major Homever store at the Seoul World Cup Stadium, as well as the fact that over 100 strikers and supporters were already under arrest. Riot police and military (mobilized draftees) were out in force, as were a group of about 100 privately outsourced thugs. They greatly outnumbered demonstrators, and as of 6 PM Sunday no confrontation had occurred.

Background on the Strike

This is one of the most important strikes in South Korea in years. Even though it involves only 1000 workers at 60-odd stores around the country, it is viewed by the government and the capitalists as a test of the new, Orwell-named "Casual Worker Protection Law" that went into effect on July 1. If the E-Land workers are defeated, it will be open season on hundreds of
thousands of other casual workers who can be laid off at will.

To show the importance the Korean government accords to the strike, on July 20 it send 7000 cops, soldiers and private thugs to roust and arrest 200 workers occupying one of the E-Land stores.

If you wish to make a financial contribution to the struggle, send it to Oh Min Gyu, the organizer of the Casual Workers' Union. Send it to account number 470302-01-178901
Kookmin Bank
South Korea

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