Korean Police Attack KCTU Headquarters | Scoop News

Brussels, 22 December 2013 (ITUC OnLine): The ITUC and the International Transport Workers’ Federation are gravely concerned about the ongoing contraventions of human and trade union rights in South Korea. Korean police attacked the offices of the national trade union centre KCTU with tear gas, detaining more than 100 striking railway workers today.

Transport is one of several sectors where workers’ rights are under attack; indeed, workers throughout the country are seeing their fundamental rights violated or ignored. The International Labour Organisation has on repeated occasions found the country’s laws wanting and have called on the government to respect the right to freedom of association in practice. However, the two global organisations are immediately concerned about the situation on Korea’s railways.

A delegation from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has just returned from a visit to the country to support the national rail strike organised by its affiliate, the Korean Railway Workers’ Union (KRWU) in the rail company Korail. The delegation strongly supported the railway workers’ right to strike against unpopular government restructuring proposals, and warned that arresting union leaders in retaliation for strike action would be a grave violation of international labour standards. The delegation also found that the government and Korail management were escalating the labour conflict by resorting to the use of strikebreakers (replacement workers) undermining safety standards to the extent that a tragic death of a passenger is now recorded. Since then, the KRWU’s offices have been raided, warrants for the arrest of 28 union officers have been issued based on criminal charges of ‘obstruction of business’ and two union officers have been arrested. Korail has filed damage suit worth 7.7 billion won against the union and its 186 leaders. These developments are deeply troubling and clearly in direct contravention of internationally recognised labour standards.

In a shocking turn of events, hundreds of police were deployed against the headquarters of the KRWU’s national centre KCTU in a disproportionate display of aggression. Pepper spray was used and hundreds were injured. Six senior union leaders were arrested. These are most worrying developments, which not only contravene internationally recognised labour standards but also violate civil rights.

The government of South Korea and its anti-union behaviour is again in the spotlight of the international community. Its actions run contrary to its obligations to the ILO and also the labour standards in trade agreements with the US and the EU. Further, the government is failing to fulfill its original commitment to the OECD, upon accession, to respect international labour standards. The ITF, the ITUC and their affiliates call on the government and Korail to stop its anti-union tactics, to drop charges against union officials and to enter into talks with the KRWU about restructuring. Both organisations and their members are committed to continue working collectively with their allies in the international trade union movement and beyond to bring justice to the working men and women in South Korea.

The ITUC represents 176 million workers in 156 countries and territories and has 325 national affiliates.


S. Korean Teachers Face Backlash from Government for Citing Injustice

S. Korean Teachers Face Backlash from Government for Citing Injustice

S. Korean Teachers Face Backlash from Government for Citing Injustice

Og Lim

On April 22nd four teachers from the Inchon Metropolitan Office of Education were stripped of their posts as requested by the South Korean Ministry of Education. Civic groups immediately criticized the decision.

These teachers were indicted without…

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Seoul, South Korea: National People’s Strike against the Park Geun-hye regime, February 25, 2014.

Workers and People in Korea walked out against the repressive policies of the Park Geun-hye government on the last day of her first year in office. Around 100,000 people in 12 different cities took the street.

Photos: Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU)

quick recap of the Dec.22 KCTU siege

….so much fail on the part of seoul police.

yesterday morning, some 4~5,000 police troops raided and attempted to enter the 경향신문 building which KCTU shares with the Kyunghyang Daily. the objective was to swiftly arrest key KRWU(korea railworker union) members leading the korail strike.

upon entering the building, police met furious resistance by KCTU members. still, they managed to go through all 17 floors of the building while pepper-spraying union workers and protesters alike. some of the pepper-spray got deflected right back into the face of some police. awww.

so, the outcome:

a) none of the people they were looking for were there. there were 0 arrests of KRWU leadership

b) the search warrant the police had requested had been thrown out by courts. so police would break down steel gates only to have the people inside ask them “do you have a warrant?” and answer “nope” lol 

by the way, that means the operation was clearly illegal. police were hoping to arrest the union workers anyways and deal with legal issues later in drawn-out court cases lasting years and years and millions of won. but they failed.

c) here’s a hilarious bit of news: two conscripted riot police(의경) were caught while trying to steal coffee from the KCTU building. one ran away and the other left his glove (with his name on it) behind. fucking sad and hilarious at the same time. 

d) in a nutshell, 4~5,000 police achieve nothing except destroy a bunch of property and stealing coffee (and failed). meanwhile, the whole shitstorm has thoroughly angered KCTU and its affiliate members, numbering some 6~700,000 workers. not to mention all of the non-saenuri political parties including DUP(민주당), UPP(통진당), the labor party(노동당) and the justice party(정의당). KCTU has called for a general strike on Dec. 28 but participation is ultimately up to each individual charter, so a nationwide-scale walkout is unlikely. but still, keeping fingers crossed.

e) kyunghyang daily news reporters have commented that “they didn’t even have to leave the building - the story came right to their doorstep” lol

f) what’s worrying is that police will now be more desperate than ever, going even more mad-dog than they have….

“The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) decided to call a General Strike for December 28th as severe repression has kicked in as police stormed KCTU headquarters – for the first time since the union became legal back in 1999. The police arrested over 100 union activists but didn’t find the leaders of the striking railway workers they’d come to arrest.

"These Korean workers, fighting against privatization and for the basic human right to strike, are now on the very front line of the battle against neoliberalism and for human dignity.”

Via Yuen Abana

South Korea: Union defies ministry warning to go ahead with general strike

South Korea’s militant umbrella labor union, boasting a membership of 700,000, said on Monday it would hold a one-day strike as planned to protest the government’s oppression of workers and its plan to privatize public firms.

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions said its members will stage the nationwide walkout on Tuesday, timed with the first anniversary of the Park Geun-hye administration. 

“This is just the beginning of our fight against the government’s plot to privatize the public sector. We will keep fighting against the government until laborers can have a good life,” KCTU chairman Shin Seung-cheol said in a press conference on Monday.

According to the umbrella union, about 200,000 members will attend the rallies to be held simultaneously in Seoul, Busan and 10 other major cities across the country. 


Manila, Philippines: Workers from the revolutionary labor front May 1st Movement (KMU), International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) and others protest in solidarity with the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and south Korean railway workers, January 10, 2014.

Photos: KMU

불법파업 대체인력 660명 채용공고

불법 철도파업 장기화에 따른 대체인력, 경력자와 신규자 모집

코레일은 불법 철도파업 장기화에 따라 필수유지 수준의 열차 운행을 위해 경력자와 신규자를 대상으로 대체인력을 채용한다고 26일 밝혔다. 

코레일은 불법파업 장기화에 따른 내부 대체인력의 피로도가 심화되어 필수유지 수준의 열차운행에 어려움을 겪고 있어, 대체인력 채용을 통해 단계별로 열차운행 정상화 및 승무사업 안정화를 도모하고자 한다고 말했다. 

이번 채용분야 및 인원은 ▲사무영업분야(열차승무원) 280명, ▲운전분야 380명 등 총 660명으로 코레일 퇴직자 및 `13년 12월 31일 퇴직예정자, 2010년 이후 코레일 인턴사원 수료자, 철도차량운전면허 소지자는 우대된다. 

korail has just announced that it would hire up to 660 workers to replace those currently on strike. 

this comes only 10 days after a passenger’s death due to faulty machinery handling by a 19-year old kid who was recruited as a replacement worker.

by the way, article 43-1 of korea’s trade union and labor relations mediation law prohibits the hiring of new replacement workers for the purpose of continuing an operation that has been influenced by an ongoing strike. and article 43-2 prohibits the outsourcing of said operations as well. 

but who cares about the law - that shit is just there to make it look all nice and civilized. these are laws that just exist on paper - the sort of laws that, in order to invoke, one has to light oneself on fire

seriously, they’ve just gone and smashed up a 17-storey building with no search warrant. who the fuck cares about laws anymore?

internet users have begun to quip that korail trains have now been patched for “hardcore mode” lol

Thousands March in S. Korea Anti-Government Protest

SEOUL, South Korea — Thousands of South Koreans marched in Seoul for the second straight day Saturday to protest government labor policies and the handling of a ferry disaster that killed more than 300 people a year ago.

Thousands of demonstrators supporting the relatives of ferry disaster victims gathered for a rally on the same downtown street where protesters violently clashed with police last weekend, leaving dozens injured. Saturday’s rally ended peacefully without any reported injuries, said an official from the National Police Agency, who didn’t want to be named, citing office rules.

Hundreds of people marched silently from several locations to participate in the evening rally, many of them wearing face masks and yellow scarfs and jackets, the color that has come to symbolize the plight of the families.

Waving candles and illuminated cellphones, the demonstrators chanted “Salvage the truth” and “Park Geun-hye, step down,” criticizing the South Korean president for her reluctance to accept a more thorough investigation into the sinking, before voluntarily dispersing.

They were joined by some of the estimated 40,000 unionized workers who had demonstrated in front of the Seoul City Hall hours earlier to denounce government policies that they fear will reduce wages, job security and retirement benefits for state employees, said Park Seong-shik, a spokesman for the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions.

A large number of police officers closely watched the demonstrators, many wearing helmets and body armor and holding riot shields. Dozens of police buses were parked nearby, as were some vehicles that appeared to be equipped with water cannons.

민주노총 강제 진입’ 경찰 책임자들 ‘승진 파티’

경찰이 지난 22일 전국민주노동조합총연맹(민주노총) 본부에 강제 진입한 데 대해 비판이 일고 있는 가운데 이 작전의 책임 라인이 24일 경찰 인사에서 줄줄이 승진했다. 이른바 ‘친박’ 핵심인 여당 의원의 동생도 고속 승진을 거듭하면서 뒷말이 무성하다.

정부는 이날 이상식 경찰청 정보심의관을 정보국장으로 승진 내정하는 등 치안감급 간부 26명에 대한 승진·전보 인사를 했다. 치안감 승진자는 이 심의관과 정해룡 서울지방경찰청 수사부장, 김양제 서울지방경찰청 기동단장, 서범수 경찰청 교통국장, 백승호 경찰청 정보화장비정책관 등 5명이다.

commanding police officers who were in charge of the raid on the KCTU building on Dec 22 have been promoted to higher pay grades, some even faster (less than two years) than the seniority requirement (3~4 years). 

PGH taking care of her thugs right.

what i don’t get is… that raid on KCTU was a 100% failure.

but maybe that’s just me thinking that the objective was to apprehend union leaders. if the actual objective was to put on a display of force in order to intimidate everybody, i guess dear leader was somewhat satisfied. 

of course, the reality is that nobody has been intimidated. rather, we’re fucking pissed off as never before now. 

South Korea: Update on Railway strike & KCTU plan for next general strike

➠ As of December 31 11am, the members of Korean Railway Workers Union (KRWU) go back to work and continue their struggle at workplace.

➠Under the slogan “Step Down, Park! Stop Privatisation!, Abolish Union Repression!,” the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) will stage its 2nd general strike on January 9th and the 3rd on January 16th, and will mobilize nationwide simultaneous rallies on January 4th and People’s Day of Action on January 16th. 

➠ The Government and Korail still maintain heavy disciplinary measures, criminal charge, lawsuit for compensation of damage and provisional seizure against the KRWU and striking workers. 

The Korean Railway Workers Union, which has been striking for 22 days against the government’s plan for the railway privatization, decided to return to work as of December 31, 11:00. According to the demand of the KRWU, the standing committee on land infrastructure and transportation in the National Assembly decided to establish a Sub-committee on Railway Development which is composed of 4 members from ruling party and 4 members from opposition parties. The subcommittee will be advised by a Policy Advisory Committee, composed of the Ministry, Korail, KRWU and civil experts. It will prepare a plan to prevent privatization of Suseo-KTX in short-term and comprehensive railway development plan in mid and long term. The KRWU welcome the establishment of the sub-committee and continue its struggle to stop privatization and defend the union and its members from disciplinary measures and possible union busting. 

The Minister of Land infrastructure and Transportation welcomed the end of the strike, however, at the same time, reconfirmed its position that “The strike is illegal.” The Korail also reconfirmed that it will maintain all the disciplinary measure planned, criminal charges, lawsuit for compensation of damage of 7.7 billion KRW and provisional seizures for the union’s asset equivalent to 11.6 billion KRW. The related ministries are trying to legislate on the compulsory discharge (dismissal) against strikers in essential public services. 

KCTU announced that it respect the KRWU’s decision to return to work and will keep its struggle to make sure that the discussion in the sub-committee results in stopping privatization of railway and quality public services. It condemned the mass and heavy disciplinary measures, criminal charges and compensation of damage and provisional seizure and strongly requested to stop it. KCTU will continue its struggle in solidarity with social movements and international labour movements. 

Regardless of the KRWU’s decision, under the slogan “Step Down, Park! Stop Privatisation!, Abolish Union Repression!,” KCTU will stage its 2nd general strike on January 9th and the 3rd on January 16th, and will mobilize nationwide simultaneous rallies on January 4th and People’s Day of Action on January 16th. 

International Solidarity is still very urgently needed to stop violation of human and trade union rights of the heavy disciplinary measures, criminal charges, imprisonment and financial reprisal against the striking workers and leaders of the union. 

A video on various solidarity action so far

Please send reports and pictures to us ( ahora76@gmail.com ) and upload them on our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/kctueng).


Seoul, South Korea: Before returning to work, Korean Railway Workers Union (KRWU) members rally in front of Seoul station, December 31, 2013. They will continue their struggle to stop privatization and various reprisals against striking workers.

Via Korean Confederation of Trade Unions