[Fwd: [SALT-L] Korean Trade Unions URGENT request for solidarity]

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Tue Dec 7 11:43:57 MST 1999


Date: 7 Dec 1999 18:34:21 -0000
From: SocialistAlternative-List <socialist at canada.com>
Subject: [SALT-L] Korean Trade Unions URGENT request for solidarity

SocialistAlternative-List - http://www.angelfire.com/on2/socresist

(Please forward)

Korean Confederation of Trade Unions

                 December 7, 1999

                    U R G E N T
              Appeal for urgent action

Riot Police Stampedes the KCTU Sit-in Protest
Tens of Unionists Dragged Away and Injured
Including Lee Soo-ho, KCTU General Secretary

Send protest letters to President Kim Dae Jung
mailto:webmaster at cwd.go.kr,inter at dircon.co.uk,kctupower at jinbo.net
<President Kim Dae Jung, The Blue House and cc'd to ourselves and the KCTU>

At 6 p.m., December 7, several hundred riot police
stormed the sit-in site, attacking the KCTU unionists for
about half an hour. The riot police cleared the sit-in
site of protesting unionists and stole away the "cargo
container" the KCTU had prepared to keep away the winter
chill during the night.

In the process of the stampede, three KCTU officials,
including the KCTU General Secretary Lee Soo-ho was
severely injured. Mr Lee was dragged out of the cargo
container - the temporary sit-in room - by the riot
police. Due to the rough handling, his left knee was
roughly twisted. He is currently unable to move his left
leg, suspected of ruptured knee ligaments.

Mr. Kim Young-je, the KCTU Director for Reunification
Affairs was also injured while being dragged out of the
container room. He was trampled on by riot police, and
dumped head first into to riot police bus. He was then
beaten by several riot police on his neck, shoulders, and
back. He is taken to a hospital, but doctors are unable
to take X-ray pictures because of the pain in his

Jang Kwang-su, the General Secretary of Korean Federation
of Construction Daily Workers Unions, was badly beaten by
the riot police with the batons on his hands. As a result,
many of his fingers are suspected of crushing fracture.

The riot police dragged away and arrested some 20 KCTU
unionists and dumped the three KCTU officials along the
way. Included among the arrested are Mr Shin Ern-jik, the
KCTU Director for Organising Department, and unionists
from the Sammi Specialty Steel Workers Union.

Send protest letters to President Kim Dae Jung
mailto:webmaster at cwd.go.kr <President Kim Dae Jung, The Blue House>

The riot police raid of the KCTU sit-in site took place
in the second day of the sit-in protest action demanding
the passage of 10 reform legislation.

On December 6, the KCTU began the sit-in action, expected
to last to December 18, the last day of the current
regular session of the National Assembly. The sit-in is
the continuation of the sit-in action by human rights
groups who have been spearheading the campaign for the
abolition of the National Security Law, that started last
week, led by Catholic priests.

KCTU, together with many of the major people's
oganisations and social movement groups, formed a broad
coalition to demand the passage of reform legislation.
Included in the demand are: the enactment of a special
law for the reduction of working hours, the abolition of
the National Security Law, the amendment of Politics
Reform Act for the eradication of political corruption
and comprehensive political reform, the enactment of a
Human Right Act, the enactment of a special law to
investigate the suspicious deaths and restoration of the
honoour of democratic martyrs, the enactment of a
universal broadcasting law, the enactment of the
legislations for a universal health insurance system and
the amendment of the law governing the practice of
pharmacists, the amendment of education laws (including
the amendment of regional education autonomy law, special
law for education in rural and seaside community, law for
the compensation of teachers denied appointment due to
their involvement in democratic movement, pre-school
children education act), and the enactment of a law to
eradicate corruption.

The sit-in also raised the trade union demand to nullify
the government plan to privatise and sell off electricity
industry to foreign concern, the privatisation of the
Hankook Heavy Industry and state hospitals. Another key
issue of the sit-in is the trade union opposition to the
unilateral restructuring of the Daewoo companies.

Apart from the demands concerning structural adjustment
programme, the sit-in also raised the demand for the
release of all imprisoned trade unionists.

The sit-in action was to be the focus of the plan for two
week long demonstration and campaign to pressure the
government in the last days of the National Assembly.

Send protest letters to President Kim Dae Jung
mailto:webmaster at cwd.go.kr <President Kim Dae Jung, The Blue House>

In response to the brutal action of the government
against the peaceful protest action, the KCTU special
Central Executive Committee decided to hold an immediate
protest rally on December 8.

The Central Executive Committee decided to call on the
government to release all the arrested unionists
immediately; to restore the KCTU sit-in site to the
original state, to make an official apology for the
action by the President Kim Dae Jung and Prime Minister
Kim Jong Pil.

The Central Executive Committee decided to launch a
campaign calling for President Kim Dae Jung step down if
these demands are not met. The Committee also decided to
continue the sit-in action. The Central Executive
Committee advised all the member local unions to begin a
protest sit-in action in their workplace by the union

The police stampede of the KCTU sit-in is very difficult
to understand, as the newly appointed Blue House
Presidential Chief Secretary Mr Han Kwang-ok was
scheduled to meet with the KCTU president Dan Byung-ho on
December 8.

The KCTU emergency Central Executive Committee concluded
that the police action was aimed at cutting short the
KCTU protest action, master-minded by the security
elements in the government. The police action is, it is
believed, to stop the spread of protest action leading
into a massive public rally on December 10, led by the
KCTU and the Korean Farmers Federation.

The sudden savage police action was taken at a time when
the government is swamped in messy problems brought about
by the work of special independent counsels. The
government was forced to appoint special independent
prosecutorial counsel last months on two prominent cases.
One involved the investigate the planned provocation of a
strike at the Korea Mint by the public authority and the
other the investigation of the cover-up by the
presidential staff and prosecutors' office of the
implication of top government officials and their wives
in illegal lobby attempt by the head of a chaebol
insurance company.

The extent of the public frustration with the government
can also be noted from the sit-in by the leadership of
the Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU), the other
national organisation of trade unions) in the offices of
the ruling party and the Federation of Korean Industries
(FKI), the national lobby body of the conglomerate firms.

Send protest letters to President Kim Dae Jung
  mailto:webmaster at cwd.go.kr,inter at dircon.co.uk,kctupower at jinbo.net
<President Kim Dae Jung, The Blue House> and cc'd to ourselves and the KCTU

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