TWSC Statement In Solidarity With Korean Workers General Strike On Sep 23

TWSC Statement In Solidarity With Korean Workers General Strike
The Transport Workers Solidarity Committee TWSC sends our support to the struggle of the Korean Workers including the KCTU on their plans against the government deregulation and anti-labor legislation on September 23, 2015
The new legislation pushed by the reactionary Park Geun-hyeong administration would allow companies to more easily fire workers calling them "low performing workers" , extension of temporary workers instead of regular full time workers, more low paid youth workers and less protection for all workers. Already Korean subcontractor workers are dying in all-time high rate of accidents
At the same time over 50% of Korean workers are temporary and this has been used to attack permanently employed worker and outsourcing labor for low paid workers without union protections.
The government as a result of deregulation of transportation and systemic corruption a is responsible for the Sewol ferry disaster which was blamed on the maritime workers, rail disasters and other transportation catastrophes.
The Park government also continues to push privatization of Korea Rail and attacking those workers such as the KXT rail workers who are fighting to unionize to gain basic worker and human rights.
The government is also attacking public workers including teachers who have been attacked for organizing and opposing anti-labor legislation, proposing censorship and attacks on democratic communication rights on the internet by requiring registration of online newspapers and seeking to censor the history of Korea through allowing only government history books with the point of view of the present government.
The TWSC stands with all Korean workers and supports the general strike action that has been called for by the KCTU and other unions.
Your struggle is our struggle and transportation workers face similar attacks on our conditions as well.

In Soldiarity,
Transport Workers Solidarity Committee

KCTU stages rally against labor reform

Posted : 2015-09-23 16:57
Updated : 2015-09-23 21:22
KCTU stages rally against labor reform

By Jhoo Dong-chan

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), the nation's second large umbrella union, staged a massive rally Wednesday in front of its headquarters in Jeong-dong, central Seoul, to protest the tripartite agreement on labor reform.

The police estimated that some 10,000 unionists took part in the demonstration.

"We are here to protect the rights of the nation's 20 million workers," the KCTU said in a press release.

"The Tripartite Commission agreed to worsen work conditions through collusion on Sept. 13, and the ruling Saenuri Party announced a revision bill three days later to push ahead with lax labor rules."

It said that the Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU), another umbrella union which participated in the tripartite talks, accepted many government-initiated guidelines including easing regulations to allow companies to fire underperforming workers and to unilaterally change the rules of employment.

The KCTU denounced the FKTU's decision as "collusion," claiming that the agreement came amid pressure from the government which set a deadline for the compromise by threatening to pursue its own revision bill.

Hyundai Motor workers struck at their all three domestic factories.

Hyundai Motor Workers Strike at all Three Domestic Plants -- Update


By In-Soo Nam
SEOUL--More than three-quarters of the workforce of Hyundai Motor Co. walked off the job on Wednesday, disrupting output at South Korea's largest auto maker for a fourth straight year.

Workers at all of the auto maker's three domestic plants began an eight-hour strike early Wednesday morning after weeks of talks with management on wages and benefits broke down, and planned further strikes on Thursday and Friday.

"We won't return to the negotiation table unless the company comes up with a better proposal," union spokesman Hwang Ki-tae said.

The 48,000 union members of Hyundai's 62,000-strong labor force overwhelmingly voted for strike plans earlier this month, adding to woes for the car maker already struggling with profit and sales declines.

Hyundai, the world's fifth-biggest auto maker along with its affiliate Kia Motors Corp., has been hit by strikes in all but four years of the union's nearly three-decade history, although they usually make up losses with extra work later that year.

Any significant work stoppage this year, however, could prove more damaging to Hyundai because it is pinning its hopes on recently-launched new models to reverse flagging sales in China--its biggest market--and in Korea.

During summer strikes last year, Hyundai suffered a production loss of about 42,000 vehicles worth 910 billion won ($772 million).

Hyundai has said the workers' demands, which include a 7.8% increase in monthly wages and a 2015 bonus equal to 30% of the previous year's earnings, are excessive and cannot be met without seriously crippling the company.

Home plus hit by major strike

Posted : 2015-09-23 17:42
Updated : 2015-09-23 19:29

Home plus hit by major strike

Kim Gi-wan, on the stage, head of the Home plus labor union, speaks to union members during a rally near the MBK Partners' head office in downtown Seoul, Wednesday. He called on the private equity fund that recently purchased Home plus to promise job security for the employees. / Korea Times photo by Park Si-soo

Unionized workers urge MBK Partners to promise job security

By Park Si-soo

Unionized workers of Home plus staged a strike Wednesday, demanding that MBK Partners guarantee their jobs. MBK is a private equity fund that recently purchased the second-largest discount store chain here.

An estimated 1,500 workers took part in the rally near the MBK head office in downtown Seoul, chanting slogans denouncing the new owner and calling on MBK executives to negotiate with them.

They claimed MBK had ignored their calls for talks on the issue, which MBK claims is not true.

"We have repeatedly called on MBK to promise job security of current workers since MBK struck a deal to buy Home plus," said Kim Gi-wan, head of the Home plus labor union representing 26,000 workers at some 800 outlets across the country.

"MBK said it would accept our demand. In reality, however, it has refused to sit down with union leaders to have face-to-face negotiations on the matter."

The union leader said the refusal reflects MBK's lack of commitment to keep the promise it made.

"If MBK and Home plus management have no intention to settle this through negotiation, we have no other choice but to find a breakthrough with a strike," the union leader warned.

This strike took place two weeks after unionized workers staged smaller protests at several Home plus outlets early this month, arguing that under MBK's ownership, scores of employees would be vulnerable to layoffs.

The Seoul-based buyout fund, which purchased Home plus for 7.2 trillion won on Sept. 7 from British retailer Tesco, has said it would guarantee job security of all Home plus employees.

Yet few Home plus workers trust the pledge, citing the business nature of the buyout fund that usually carries out aggressive restructuring of a company it buys to resell it for more than it paid.

MBK on Wednesday reaffirmed its commitment to the job security of all Home plus employees.

"We will not conduct any forced restructuring of existing employees," the company said. "In addition, we've confirmed our commitment several times through letters we sent to the union."

The company said the acquisition process is still underway and therefore it's not appropriate at this stage for MBK executives to sit with Home plus union leaders to discuss the issue.

"MBK is the largest shareholder, not manager (of Home plus). Thus the counterpart for the talks should be Home plus management, not us," it said.

The Home plus union said the strike will continue until it secures a binding solution to the dispute. Home plus said its outlets would maintain normal operation despite the strike because only 10 percent of the employees joined the move.

Home plus has 140 discount malls, 375 supermarkets, 327 convenience stores and dozens of bakeries, logistics centers and other facilities in Korea.

The company's profitability has declined since 2012. Its operating profit stood at 194.4 billion won last year, down from 330 billion won in 2013.