On Tuesday 25 February, the first anniversary of President Park’s inauguration, the South Korean trade union confederation the KCTU will be holding a nationwide “people’s strike”, with the slogan “After one year under Park’s Government, we cannot stand it anymore!” For the last twelve months, human and trade union rights have been attacked and democracy in the country has been undermined. Almost all of the public commitments made by President Park during her election campaign have been broken. The KCTU is organising the strike together with broader social movements including organisations of peasants, the urban poor, small shop keepers, students, youth etc. On the 25th, workers and citizens will gather in the capital Seoul and other major cities in each province to raise the common demands of the people.
But organising strikes in President Park’s Korea is increasingly dangerous. Strikes and protests are met with harsh repression, the Korean Teachers Union has been de-registered and the Korean Government Employees Union refused registration. Union buildings have been raided. There are eleven trade union leaders behind bars at the moment - some of them still awaiting trial, some already convicted - and four have just been bailed for trial later. European trade unions and civil society have used the mechanisms established in the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement to make a formal complaint to the European Union, and trade unions across the OECD are reminding President Park of the commitments made to uphold ILO core conventions such as freedom of association, free collective bargaining and the right to strike when Korea joined the OECD.
In solidarity with the 15 union leaders in prison or on bail, and with the KCTU, the global trade union movement is calling for the release of all imprisoned trade unionists. Please send the message below to President Park
(via Korea: Free jailed trade unionists, stop anti-union acts)