The Korean Railway Workers Union (KRWU), a member of PSI affiliate the Korean Federation of Public Services and Transportation Workers' Unions (KPTU), held a 23-day long strike against rail privatisation during the month of December 2013.
The union ended the strike on 31 December after government agreed to set up a multi-stakeholder committee of inquiry into the sector. The strike, to oppose privatisation of the rail system, received wide support from all Korean unions, but importantly, from many citizens as well.
KPTU asks for continued global support in its fight for worker rights and quality public services. Faced with extreme repression, including a violent raid on the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions headquarters by government forces, the Korean labour movement will hold two national strikes on 9 and 18 January 2014 to demand the withdrawal of criminal charges, the damage suit, the dismissals and disciplinary measures against the rail workers’ union, an end to labour repression in Korea, and an end to the unilateral pursuit of privatisation.
PSI General Secretary Rosa Pavanelli calls on all PSI affiliates to support the struggle of Korean trade unions: “All trade unions should be concerned by the repressive measures systematically used by the Government of Korea to violate trade union rights. They set a very poor example in the region. The influence of the government of Korea in international institutions is growing, unfortunately leading neo-liberal policies that always show complete disrespect for workers and trade unions.”
“The recent violent attack by government forces against the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions is reprehensible. Union activists and leaders are courageously putting their careers, their health and safety on the line to defend labour rights and to fight for quality public services.
“We need to demonstrate international solidarity by bringing our voices to Korean embassies and consulates around the world on the 9th and 16th of January. Unions should also seek to have as much media coverage as possible, in order to reveal the real nature of Korean policies.”
All PSI affiliates are requested to send details of their action, including photos and media links, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your solidarity.