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The government’s attacks on the public sector and all workers continue. They are seeking to weaken public pensions, cut public workers’ benefits and rights, stimulate competition through performance-based pay, and privatise healthcare, transport and other need public services. The government is also expanding precarious employment. At the same time, the government refuses to hold a fair investigation of the sinking of the Sewol Ferry that happened a year ago, wilfully turning its back on the families of the some 300 victims and repressing their desperate protests with water canons and arrests.
Korean workers, among them the members of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union (KPTU), are striking to protest all of these measures. Members of KPTU’s Education Solidarity Division are calling for legislation and funding that will make possible secure employment and decent work in schools and other public institutions. KPTU hospital workers (Seoul National University Hospital, Kyungpook University Hospital) protest the commercialisation of healthcare and repression against unions who stand up to it. Other KPTU workers employed in sectors that range from private transport to public utilities are also joining the protest.
Before these actions, on April 21, KPTU members in safety-related jobs (transport, utilities, healthcare, etc.) held an ‘Action Day for Public Safety’, calling for a just resolution to the Sewol tragedy.