Korea: over 100,000 workers join general strike on 24 April

27 April 2015
General strike rally, Seoul
On 24 April, more than a hundred thousand South Korean workers came out into the streets as part of the Korean Confederation of Trade Union’s general strike.

The strikers demanded an end to regressive labour market reform and public pension cuts, introduction of a KRW 10,000 minimum wage and guarantee of fundamental labour rights for all workers.

The Korea government is attempting to unilaterally introduce performance-based wage systems, make it easier to fire workers and expand precarious employment, and blocking a fair investigation of the sinking of the Sewol Ferry in April 2014. There are also recent revelations of government corruption.

Over 100,000 workers gathered in 17 locations around the country on 24 April, and on the following day, another massive protest was held by teachers and public servants focusing specifically on the pension reform issue.

Korean public and transport workers have been at the centre of these struggles with 10,000 members of the KPTU participating. Precarious workers in public services held a pre-rally before the main general strike rally calling for legislation and funding to improve their conditions and formalise their status as public sector workers, with members of the KPTU Education Workers Solidarity Division (education support workers) at the heart of this protest. They also participated in strike rallies around the country, including in Daegu, where water cannons were used against them and other workers.

Workers at Seoul National University Hospital began an indefinite strike against commercialisation of healthcare and union repression on 23 April. They will be joined by workers from Kyungpook National University Hospital on April 29.

The KCTU and KPTU are building up for May Day, followed by more strike action in June and throughout the year.     

PSI has sent a support letter to Korean affiliates.

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