The impeachment of Park Geun-hye, now former President of South Korea, is not only the culmination of a political scandal involving corruption. It is also a victory built by the trade union movement which, relentless, denounced for years the abuses against workers committed by her regime.
The Korean Health and Medical Union (KHMU) held its 2017 Annual Congress on February 22-23 at the International Conference Hall of the Seoul Women’s Plaza. The meeting was attended by delegates from the 180 branches of KHMU, representing 50,000 members.
Workers in Korea are facing difficult times. The rampant violation of trade union rights by the government include reprisals, dismissals and even the incarceration of trade union leaders and members. PSI, its affiliates, and other global union federations have been working throughout the year on many solidarity actions and campaigns to support them.
Trade unions in Korea are campaigning for the Park Geun-hye government’s proposed legislation for a discriminatory performance-related pay and termination system for public sector workers to be cancelled. They held a huge general strike and rally on 27 September and are now asking for international solidarity support.
A global union federation mission to South Korea has made a strong statement after standing alongside Korean public sector workers staging their largest strike in 20 years. Korean unions are fighting back against government plans for a performance-related pay and termination system that threatens public safety and public interest.
Korean trade unionists are still struggling against ongoing regressive labour reforms in the country, including the Park Geun-hye government’s imposition of a discriminatory performance-related pay and termination system on public workers.
On 8 September, a criminal court sentenced Lee Jong-hwa, President of the Korean Plant Construction Workers’ Union, a BWI affiliate, to 6-month imprisonment, in relation to the Mass People’s Mobilization of 14 November 2015.
PSI affiliate, KHMU carried out a survey in Spring 2016 of the working of conditions of healthcare workers and found that the shortage of nurses leads to a pregnancy rotation system (8.4%) and miscarriages or stillbirths (2.9%).
PSI affiliate, the Korean Health and Medical Workers’ Union (KHMU) has decided to hold two general strikes at the end of September and October, to protest flawed labor market reforms. The union is also striking for 2016 collective wage bargaining and to secure a sufficient number of healthcare workers in hospitals.