The International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS) in Canada wholeheartedly expresses solidarity with the striking workers of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU). The ongoing strikes, though wildcat, are a just defense against the right to organize and bargain collectively.
The current government of South Korea is as anti-labour as the previous government. Despite its mask of kindness and peace, it is viciously attacking the labour movement and cracking down on labour organizers. The ILPS condemns these attacks.
The state is trying to criminalize labour organizing while it strives to privatize, liberalize and deregulate the economy. It prefers to serve the big conglomerates and multinationals rather than the working people and poor. It is in the true national interest and the interest of social justice and improvement that workers take action.
A case in point is KORAIL, the public rail system in South Korea. Private contractors have been vying to be the builders of a new “bullet” line. This project would undermine labour unions and KORAIL workers. KORAIL workers are doing their best to fight to protect the public system, its workers and users. They have been courageously and steadfastly resisting privatization. KCTU and other allies support them. The ILPS supports this cause, too.
The ILPS also gives its condolences for Korean workers killed as a result of their jobs. In December, Kim Yong-gyun, a 24-year-old power plant worker, was killed in a tragic accident resulting from dangerous outsourcing practices and a lack of safety measures at Taean Power Plant. We demand the best health and safety measures for all workers, including Samsung electronics workers who have been subjected to cancer-inducing contamination on the job.
Furthermore, we firmly call for the release of imprisoned union organizers arrested, processed and held merely for being organizers. Elected on a pledge of militant labour struggle, the President of KCTU, Han Sang-Gyun, was arrested after a KCTU office raid in 2013, then sentenced to five years in prison plus a fine in 2016. This was a misuse of the justice system and an abhorrent disrespect for labour organizing.
The ILPS in Canada wishes KCTU success in its strike actions and other organizing activities.
Long live international solidarity!
Workers of the world, unite!
Oppose the criminalization of labour organizing!
(Cover photo taken from Korean Confederation of Trade Unions Facebook Page)