KMU slams Sokor labor leader’s arrest

downloadNational labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today the arrest of Han Sang-gyun, president of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), last Wednesday, claiming the South Korean government is intensifying trade-union repression in order to implement policies that will result in mass retrenchment of workers and the pressing down of wages.

The labor group said Han’s arrest, which was carried out by the Park Gyun-he government in relation to huge and militant protests held by South Korean workers, is an attack on workers’ right to hold protests and air demands and is therefore an attack on workers all over the world.

“We condemn the Park Gyun-hye administration for arresting Han Sang-gyun and violently showing its hostility towards the working people of South Korea and their just demands. We fully support the KCTU’s struggle to improve workers’ condition and to force the South Korean government to scrap its latest anti-worker policies,” said Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, Chairperson of KMU.

The labor leader called on unions and labor formations all over the country and the world to condemn Han’s arrest and show solidarity with the workers of South Korea who are battling policies that will enable employers to easily retrench workers and introduce performance-based wage-setting.

“South Korean president Park Gyun-he is showing to the world that she is indeed a daughter of military dictator Park Chung-hee. They are both dictators serving the interest of big foreign and local capitalists and deserve the most widespread condemnation of workers and peoples everywhere,” Labog added.

KMU also condemned the various forms of trade-union repression being carried out by the South Korean government: the issuance of an arrest warrant against Han for leading protests in March and April, the Nov. 6 raid of a KCTU union, and the repression of the 130,000-strong mobilization last Nov. 14, in which 51 were arrested and 100 were injured.

The KCTU headquarters and the offices of workers’ formations related to it were also raided last Nov. 21, the government tried to ban the workers’ Dec. 5 protest, and more than 2,000 policemen were deployed to the Joggye Buddhist Temple in order to arrest Han.

“We support KCTU’s plan to hold a strike on December 16 both to protest the arrest and intensify the struggle against the labor flexibilization policies. The South Korean government’s plan of legalizing the termination of full-time workers and their replacement of temporary or contractual workers is most unjust and should be condemned by all workers,” Labog added.