Union mission delivers strong statement as it stands alongside Korean strikers

30 September 2016
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.

The 10-strong delegation was from the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and Public Services International (PSI) global union federations and representatives from their member unions – the CGT General Union of Civil Servants and CGT Cheminots (France); the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE); the Rail Tram Bus Union of Australia (RTBU) and the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) of New Zealand.

They arrived in Korea on 21 September and worked closely with Korean trade unions to share their experience and support them in their campaign, leading to a public sector strike on 27 September involving tens of thousands of rail, underground, healthcare, energy and other public sector workers. PSI was represented by trade union rights officer Camilo Rubiano.

The imposition of a discriminatory performance-related pay and termination system is part of a government attempt to further liberalise and privatise public services. The new system would have workers competing against each other and make it easier to dismiss employees. It would lower wages and undermine both job guarantees and the right of trade unions to defend their members.

The lawful strike brought together workers right across the public and public transport sectors. Its show of strength has led to some employers cancelling suspensions, but the government has declared the rail strike illegal and intends to press charges against nine rail union leaders. The global union movement will fight these attacks and campaign for rights in Korea and the release of those arrested in the last wave of anti-union repression.

Read the PSI/ITF union delegation's 30 September statement.

More information including press releases from 21 and 26 September.

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