2/16/14 TWSC Statement On Korean General Strike And Fight To Defend KRWU

2/16/14 TWSC Statement On Korean General Strike And Fight To Defend KRWU

Solidarity with the Korean General Strike!

Defend the Korean Railway Workers Union!

Support The Struggle Against Privatization of KORAIL!

In a vicious attack on the fundamental trade union rights of the Korean labor movement, South Korean President Park Geun-hye, in December, dispatched a battalion of some 5,000 police to surround and launch an assault on the offices of the Korean Confederation of Trade Union (KCTU) in order to arrest the leadership of the KRWU. Unable to find them, police arrested over 100 union members and the government is preparing to sue workers individually.

The Korean railway workers are members of the Korean Federation of Public Services and Transportation Workers’ Unions (KPTU). They’ve been opposing the privatization of the national railway, which would not only threaten the jobs of railway workers but also threaten the health and safety of the workers and the public. The Korean government action against the railway workers is not an isolated case. The Park government and its predecessors have repressed teachers and other public workers for organizing unions. They’ve passed laws that make workers personally liable to lawsuits if their union goes on strike because they say strikes “obstruct business”. But what about the workers’ right to strike because businesses don’t provide safe working conditions, decent social benefits and a living wage? Government-imposed fines have led to the bankruptcy of large numbers of workers and even suicides.

This effort to destroy the Korean labor movement is backed by the US government. Both Democrat and Republican administrations, through so-called “free trade agreements” have been forcing privatization and deregulation internationally against the working class, resulting in unions being busted.

For example, the South Korean government with the cajoling of the US government is also pushing forward with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) which would privatize the national healthcare system of Korea and force further deregulation of the Korean economy harming workers and the public. The Park regime is attempting to bust the KRWU to pave the way for the TPP. These capitalist economic policies pushed by the IMF and World Bank and backed by multi-nationals have cut workers’ social benefits, public services and destroyed

unions around the world. To enforce these repressive and exploitative programs, capitalist governments are pushing further militarization of the Korean peninsula for the encirclement of China.

Transit workers in the San Francisco Bay Area represented by the ATU, SEIU, AFSCME and other unions were under assault recently. Union busters have been hired to break their unions and lay the basis to privatize the public transit system in the Bay Area and around the country. Veolia and other multi-national corporations have their eyes on buying a privatized KORAIL for greater profits. This will only harm the Korean railroad workers and the people of Korea.

We stand with the Korean railway workers and the Korean working class for the right to strike against the privatization. We support the 2/25/2014 KCTU general strike to challenge the Korean President Park Geun-hye and her anti-labor union busting government.

The Transport Workers Solidarity Committee has helped organize labor struggles in the Bay Area including on the docks. We understand that a victory for Korean workers is victory for all of us! Same struggle same fight!

Today, in solidarity with the KRWU-KPTU and the KCTU, we demand:
* Immediate release of all jailed trade unionists

in Korea! No reprisals! Reinstate all fired

* Immediate halt of all lawsuits against trade

unionists! Drop the fines!
* Defend the right of Korean railway workers

to strike against privatization of the KORAIL

* Down with the Park Geun-Hye government!

Workers to power!
* Solidarity with the struggle against the building of a military base in Jeju Island, establishing a US military base to threaten China and North Korea!

* Smash the National Security Laws used to suppress democratic rights, free speech and the right to form a working class party.

(2/16/2014) Initiated by The Transport Workers Solidarity Committee (www.transportworkers.org)