Korea: government continues its crackdown on trade unions

08 September 2016
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.

This follows the rulings against KPTU Vice President Cho Sung-deok and KCTU President Han Sang-gyun, who were sentenced to two and five years’ imprisonment, respectively, a couple of months ago.

Trade unions all over the world have made repeated calls to the Korean government to respect civil and trade unions rights and democratic values, with no avail. On the contrary, it carried the crackdown further. Earlier this year, the courts upheld the government’s decision to deregister the teachers’ union, and they recently put forth plans for privatisation in the rail and energy sectors.

In spite of this, Korean unions are not abandoning its fight and they are preparing for another round of protests and mobilization at the end of September, this time against the unilateral labour reform that imposes performance-related pay and pay structures in public services. Stay tuned.

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