Tag Archives: Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU)

Sentro calls anew the South Korea government to end the clampdown against trade unions

kctu3

14 December 2015

HER EXCELLENCY PARK GEUN-HYE
President
Republic of Korea
Blue House
Seoul, South Korea
president@president.go.kr.

Thru: HIS EXCELLENCY KIM JAE-SHIN
Ambassador
Embassy of the Republic of Korea
Taguig City, Philippines

Dear Madam President:

This is the second letter we are sending you in a span of a few days only – the first was on December 9, when we expressed our utmost concern and displeasure over your government’s sweeping and unwarranted crackdown on South Korea’s organized workers led by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU).

We emphasized in our first letter that Sentro – a major national labor center here in the Philippines – is one with the KCTU and the international labor movement in strongly calling for your government to withdraw the proposed labor law “reforms,” end the clampdown against the KCTU and other trade unions, cancel both the existing and planned repressive regulations that suppress human, labor and trade union rights and civil liberties, free all the incarcerated trade unionists and activists, especially those thrown into prisons because of the current crackdown, drop all the charges against them, and fully restore all the democratic rights that were trampled upon since the start of the offensive versus the Korean workers and their supporters.

And now Sentro, along with the labor and social movements throughout the world, would like to convey our most vehement condemnation of the arrest and imprisonment of Bro. Han Sang-gyun, KCTU president. To spare the Jogye monks of “great inconvenience and difficulty” and the desecration of their temple in Seoul – brought about by the siege and eventual forced entry of hundreds of police troopers to nab Bro. Han Sang-gyun, who sought refuge there – he turned himself in to the raiders on December 9, after a 24-day standoff. We are aghast at the brazenness and overkill of your government and security forces in forcefully nabbing Bro. Han Sang-gyun whose only “crime” was standing up for the inalienable and legitimate rights of the workers. His was a peaceful and legal advocacy; he was not an armed and dangerous criminal or terrorist. We are likewise outraged by the police assault as a blatant disrespect for the sacred grounds of the Jogye temple.

We respectfully but firmly urge you, Madam President, to please release from jail Bro. Han Sang-gyun as well as other imprisoned trade unionists and activists as a sign of goodwill and openness to genuinely resolve the brewing conflict there as soon as possible. The world is intently watching you and it will see you in a positive light if your administration will treat the workers and citizens fairly and squarely, and if you will not return the country to the road of either civilian authoritarianism or military dictatorship.

Sincerely,

FRANK MERO
Chairperson

JOSUA MATA
Secretary General

Sentro asks South Korea government to end clampdown against trade unions

kctu2

HER EXCELLENCY PARK GEUN-HYE
President
Republic of Korea
Blue House
Seoul, South Korea
president@president.go.kr.

Thru: HIS EXCELLENCY KIM JAE-SHIN
Ambassador
Embassy of the Republic of Korea
Taguig City, Philippines

Dear Madam President:

The undersigned represent the Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) or Center of United and Progressive Workers, a national labor center here in the Philippines comprising of trade unions and other workers’ organizations in the private, public, informal and migrant sectors. Sentro also belongs to the country’s biggest labor coalition called Nagkaisa (United), which likewise fervently advocates for labor and trade union rights, democratic freedoms and solidarity with workers throughout the world.

We were informed by our colleagues in the international labor movement as well as from the Korean trade unions themselves of the escalating crackdown of your government against the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), its affiliate organizations and other organized workers in South Korea. We are deeply concerned of the series of police raids on union offices and the sweeping arrests and detention of union leaders. We are particularly appalled by the attempts to forcefully seize Bro. Han Sang-gyun, KCTU president, who is now holed up in a temple in central Seoul. We are both shocked and disgusted by the arbitrary and illegal moves of the government and its security forces to ban even peaceful assemblies or protest actions; and in branding the protesters as like the ISIL, which is both a dangerous and silly accusation, and in trying to prohibit through legislation the covering of one’s face during demonstrations, which is patently ridiculous.

We are very much aware that these indiscriminate and draconian measures are clearly stubborn efforts by the government to stop at all costs the growing opposition of the Korean workers and trade unions against the proposed labor law “reforms” – which would slash compensations of senior workers, hasten the employers’ ability to terminate workers, increase the number of temporary agency workers in sectors that they are currently not allowed, further weaken protections for subcontractual workers, and restrict the union’s right to check the employers’ power to implement workplace rules that are harmful to the workers’ interests. Moreover, we are mindful of the fact that South Korea ranks lower in labor protection among the majority of OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development) rich member countries – contrary to the government’s fallacious claim that the country’s labor protection laws and policies are “too high” and hinder “job creation,” and which supposedly prompted the proposed labor law amendments.

Sentro strongly denounces the heavy-handed attempts of the government and its security forces to prevent the Korean workers and citizens from freely expressing their lawful and inalienable rights to peaceably assemble and to air their grievances and aspirations. The massive mobilization of workers and citizens last November 14 was a resounding manifestation of their rejection of the socioeconomic and labor agenda of the government; thus, its dogged attempts to ban the succeeding December 5 mass actions were a desperate bid to thwart the mounting challenge to its authority. Sentro is doubly alarmed by the increasing authoritarian tendencies of the President, which are disturbingly reminiscent of the military dictatorship of your late father, President Park Chung-hee, who ruled South Korea from 1961 until 1979.

Sentro echoes the calls to withdraw the proposed labor law “reforms,” end the clampdown against the KCTU and other trade unions, cancel all the repressive regulations that suppress human, labor and trade union rights and civil liberties, free all the incarcerated trade unionists and activists, revoke the arrest orders against Bro. Han Sang-gyun and others, drop all the charges against them, and fully restore all the democratic rights that were trampled upon since the start of the campaign versus the Korean unions.

Sincerely,

FRANK MERO
Chairperson

JOSUA MATA
Secretary General