<![CDATA[정보마당-ENG]]> ko 2017-11-19 오전 10:13:37 92 <![CDATA[발전노조 성명(영) KPIU Statement Welcoming Moon Measures on Fine Dust]]>

[Statement] The Korean Power Plant Industry Union Welcomes President Moon Jae-in’s Enactment of Measures to Reduce Fine Dust

 

Only six days after taking office, President Moon Jae-in announced emergency measures to reduce the amount of fine dust in the air including a temporary shutdown of coal-fired thermoelectric power plants that are over thirty-years-old for the month of June. President Moon also announced plans to regularly stop operation of these power plants during the four months from March to June, when the fine dust concentration is the highest, beginning next year. And, he promised to completely close down ten of these plants in the shortest time possible and at the latest before the end of his five-year term.

Unlike past administrations, which announced plans for future power plant closures for the sake of garnering positive public opinion and then delayed implementation, President Moon’s willingness to do as much as possible in the immediate demonstrates the will and sincerity of the new administration. In addition, a Blue House representative’s comments that, “employment for (power plant workers) should not become more difficult as a result of introduction of new sources of energy” demonstrates how deeply and broadly the administration is thinking about this issue.

 

Some media outlets have expressed concerned that the additional cost of roughly 60 billion KRW estimated to be needed to replace outdated coal-fired power plants with LNG power generation, which is relatively more expensive, will lead to higher electricity prices or losses for the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO). For the last several years KEPCO and its 6 power generation subsidiaries have enjoyed an economic boom due to low international oil and coal prices with their collective net profit last year reaching 11.8 trillion KRW. This trend is expected to continue in the near future.

 

In particular, there are fears that, in addition to the shutdown of old coal-fired power plants, should President Moon carry out his promises to cancel plans for new nuclear power plants and stop the construction of new coal-fired plants with processing rates of less than 10% it will put upward pressure on electricity prices. A fundamental solution needs to be found to alleviate such fears. Part of this solution can be found in the integration of the public power companies or entire electricity industry, which would enabling a savings of several trillion KRW by cutting back overlapping maintenance costs, reducing the costs that arise from competition and enabling across-the-board purchasing of fuel and materials. If the government reduces the benefits given to private power generation companies, whose profits are currently guaranteed at a higher rate than public power companies, and restricts the expansion of new private power pants, KEPCO could achieve even higher gains that it does at present. Funds raised in this manner should be aggressively invested in the expansion of renewable capacity and technological development.

 

Our members are the workers in charge of running coal-fired power plants. We are also ROK citizens. Although our hearts are heavy, we welcome the shutdown of worn out coal power plants because we are clear about what kind of country we want to leave for our descendants. We recognise, however, that the road ahead is a long one. In particular, resistance from those who gain from the current misdirected organisation of the energy industry and collaborators with the past administration will be strong. We hope that the new administration will not bend from the path it has started on and continued to move forward to make a country that is worth living in. If it does, we will walk on the same path, playing the role of whistleblower and policy advisor.

 

16 May 2017

KCTU/KPTU-Korean Power Plant Industry Union

 


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2017-06-15 14:49:2
<![CDATA[대선 성명(영문) KPTU Statement on Presidential Elections]]>

KPTU Calls on President Moon Jae-in to Eradicate Structural Evils from Past Administrations and Carry Out Democratic Reform of the Public Sector

 

- The new government should begin with implementation of a 10-thousand-won minimum wage, repealing the public sector performance-related pay policy and regularisation of the status of precariously-employed public sector workers

- KPTU will seek dialogue with the new government and continue to fight to expand labour and democratic rights.

- KPTU thanks our members and other voters who supported the efforts of progressive candidates in the presidential election

 

KPTU congratulates President Moon Jae-in who was voted in as president in an election brought about by the power of the Korean people’s candlelight uprising. We truly hope that the President will make good on his election promises to eradicate the structural evils remaining from past administrations and heed the voices of the people calling for a new South Korean society.

 

The presidential election was filled with the passionate hopes of the Korean people who brought down the scandal-ridden Park Geun-hye administration. It was also filled with the passionate hopes of workers and common people who struggled day in and day out over the last four years to stop the destruction of basic rights and democracy. The last two years were marked by continues protests - the KCTU’s general strike and the mass people’s mobilisation in 2015 and the largest ever joint public sector strike in 2016, leading into the candlelight uprising.

 

Public sector workers have fought against the Park Geun-hye government’s attacks on trade unions and public services. We have fought to stop regressive labour reforms, the implementation of performance-related pay and termination in the public sector and the privatisation of the railway, energy and healthcare. We have demanded the expansion of public sector jobs for young people and public sector reform that will truly benefit the people. During his candidacy, President Moon Jae-in promised to accept workers’ demands and correct the misdirected policies of the previous government. We call on him to stay true to these promises.

 

As its first labour policy, the new government should greatly increase the minimum wage with the goal of reaching 10-thousand-won hourly rate, regularise the employment status of precariously-employed public sector workers and expand public sector jobs. These are steps that the administration can take quickly. In addition, the government should engage in dialogue with the KCTU and other trade unions. In particular, it should open labour-government negotiations (consultation) with public sector unions as the ‘real employer’ of public sector workers. As long as the new administration is sincere, KPTU, the public sector union that fought the hardest against the previous government, is ready for dialogue.

Together with the KCTU, KPTU is preparing for a ‘social general strike’ in June to win a 10-thousand-won minimum wage, protection of fundamental trade union rights, deep public sector reform, and complete repeal of performance-related pay and termination system in the public sector. While the immediate target of this struggle is to correct the ‘structural evils’ that have accumulated from previous administrations, the target could change depending on the new administration’s attitude and policies. We hope that the Moon administration will, from the outset, listen to the voices of workers.

 

Furthermore, we recognise the growth of support for progressive parties as the most significant outcome of the presidential election. Shim Sang-jung, the candidate of the Justice Party, gave a great showing, receiving 2 million votes, and Kim Seon-dong of the People’s United Party also made a valiant effort despite difficult circumstances. The possibility of advancement for progressive politics was clear in the fact that the support for these two candidates came not only from union members, but also from unorganised precarious workers, young people, women and other socially disadvantaged groups. KPTU expresses our gratitude to the union members and other voters who supported these progressive candidates, who were also the candidates officially endorsed by the KCTU.

 

The KPTU will not stop its fight to defend the rights and improve the lives of not only our members in the public sector and transport industry, but also of all workers and all people in Korea. President Moon has promised ‘respect for workers’. Reform does not come merely through campaign promises, however. It is the organisation and struggle of workers and common people through which the power to actualise those promises will come. From the first day of the new administration, the KPTU goes forward with new resolve to work hand in hand with the whole working class and all people of Korea.


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2017-05-12 20:56:55
<![CDATA[대의원대회 소식(영문): At Annual Congress, KPTU Looks towards the Future]]>

At Annual Congress, KPTU Looks towards the Future

On 22 February, delegates of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union (KPTU) from around the country gathered at the Kim Koo Museum & Library in Seoul for the union’s annual Congress. KPTU delegates were joined by several guests, including representatives of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) and allied public sector unions.

 

Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary of the Public Services International (PSI), and Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), were also present through video messages in which they expressed continued support to the struggle of KPTU and Korean workers. General Secretary Cotton also welcomed KPTU to the ITF family noting the acceptance of our application for affiliation at the end of last year.

 

This year’s Congress was held under very different circumstances than those we faced a year ago. Last year, we were contending with a massive crackdown on the labour movement. This year, we face the real possibility of an early change in government and the opening of new social space as a result of the mass candlelight protests and the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.

 

During the Congress, therefore, KPTU delegates looked forward toward a new period in which we will be able to move from defensive battles against union repression to offensive campaigns for a more democratic and equal society.

 

In particular, the KPTU delegates passed a plan to using an early presidential election (expected in May) to put forth a concrete platform for democratic and people-centred reform of public institutions, the creation of good public sector jobs, strengthening of road and transport safety and the expansion of trade union rights. KPTU will seek policy agreements with opposition party candidates committing them to these demands, while continuing to work towards the long-term goal of the creation of a progressive political party.   

 

We are aware, moreover, that a mere transition in ruling party will by no means guarantee social change. Rather, continued protest is needed to call on the next administration live up to the most progressive meaning of the candlelight protests. As a main part of this effort, KPTU delegates agreed to prepare for strike action for a 10 thousand won minimum wage and the complete withdrawal of the Park government’s public sector and labour policies, timed for directly after the presidential election.

 

KPTU delegates also agreed to make active use of the new social environment to build union strength through organising and long-term planning. In particular, Congress committed to deeper investment in strategic organising of precarious workers, the establishment of a union education centre and the operation of a Future Strategies Committee to enable us to adapt to a changing domestic and global context. In addition, Congress voted for an incremental increase in dues, and in particular to develop a plan for centering increases on higher income members.

 

In the midst of a world reeling from the rise of right-wing nationalism and intensified international conflict, Korean workers have the opportunity to move in a different direction, toward a society that is more democratic, more equal and more inclusive. This is a tremendous responsibility, one that we cannot take on alone. In this historic movement, we will seek new forms of international exchange and solidarity as we work to bring about real progressive change in Korean and find collective solutions to the new global challenges we all face.


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2017-02-23 16:24:2
<![CDATA[위원장 신년메시지 New Years Message from KPTU President Jo Sangsu]]>

Dear Friends and Allies in the International Labour Movement,

 

             One behalf of the 170 thousand members of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union (KPTU), I wish you and your organisations health, happiness and success in your struggles for social justice in the New Year.

 

In particular, I want to express the KPTU’s deep gratitude for your international solidarity for our struggle in the second half of last year, which began with national strike action and developed into a people’s candlelight uprising for the ouster of the Park Geun-hye government.

 

Thanks to the determination and unity of our members, and the domestic and international support we received, our achievements in 2016 were tremendous. They included unprecedented nationally coordinated strike action by our affiliates at public institutions, the first coordination of strike action in subway and long-distance rail since 1994, the first ever simultaneous strike in rail and trucking, and the longest rail strike ever in Korean history.

 

Through these struggles we built broad social awareness of the dangerous of the government’s regressive labour reforms and profit-oriented public sector policies and were able to stave off their implementation in some cases. We also won concessions on client responsibility and stalled deregulation in the trucking transport market. Most importantly, the struggles of public and transport workers combined with public outrage at government and corporate corruption into a mass people’s candlelight uprising, which led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye in the National Assembly.

 

For all of our achievements in 2016, however, our fight is far from over. Even now, we continue to protest calling for the rapid completion of the impeachment process through confirmation in the Constitutional Court, while at the same time preparing for the likelihood of early elections in the first half of 2017. Moreover, the labour movement faces the urgent task of advancing the movement for President Park’s ouster into one that can overcome economic and social crisis and create fundamental social change by dismantling Korea’s chaebol (family conglomerate)-centred dictatorship and economic system, and replacing them with an equal, peaceful and democratic society.

 

If we are to succeed in this effort, we must find answers to pressing questions posed to us by the candlelight protests: How do we connect with a growing group of workers and common people who are fed up with established political parties and organisations and feel alienated from traditional protest forms? How can we listen to and reflect the voices of young, elderly and precarious workers, the majority of whom are without union protection and cut off from our traditional channels of communication? In what ways must we organise so that we truly incorporate and represent the interests of the entire working class?

 

In the end, these questions are not unique to the Korean labour movement, but reflect the concerns of unions around the world grappling with the combined effects of labour flexiblisation and the atomisation and frustration caused by neoliberal capitalism. I am confident, however, that if we share our experiences and analysis we will be able to help one another in discovering the answers and the path ahead.

 

In fact, our international exchange is now more urgent than ever before. With the election of Donald Trump in the United States and the rise of right-wing populism throughout Europe and elsewhere, we are experiencing a turn toward protectionism, increased militarism and growing instability in the world order. This situation carries with it enormous threats for workers, but also the opportunity for us to put forth a vision of the future want to share. Instead of falling into the trap of inward-looking nationalism, we must come together to envision a world based on the equal protection of workers’ rights, balanced development and the sharing of wealth.   

 

In the Lunar Calendar this year is the Year of the Red Rooster, which represents the start of a new era. In this time of global uncertainty it is upon all of us to ensure that workers and common people, not corrupt politicians and the corporate elite, are the true owners of the new era that is now dawning.

 

As part of this task, the KPTU will continue to fight, not only for a change in government in the upcoming election, but also for a public sector that is governed by and responsive to the needs of the public, good direct employment at public institutions, safety and supply chain accountability in the transport industry, and the expansion of fundamental labour rights to unorganised workers regardless of who is elected. We will also work with our national centre the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions to achieve chaebol reform and a 10 thousand won minimum wage, and partner with social society organisations to recover and expand democracy in South Korea and establish of a peace regime in East Asia.

  

As we move forward with these efforts, we will be looking to our friends and allies in other countries for knowledge and inspiration, and seeking meaningful avenues for mutual solidarity and collective action. We look forward to strengthening international exchange and partnerships as we take ownership of a new era in the Year of the Red Rooster.

 

In solidarity,

Sangsu Jo

President

Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union (KPTU)


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2017-01-23 15:46:38
<![CDATA[KPTU Statement on US Presidential Elections (미대선 결과에 대한 성명 영문)]]>

Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union’s Message to American Unions Following the Presidential Elections

 

On November 8, the whole of the KPTU watched the news anxiously as the electoral vote swung in Donald Trump’s favor. Anxiety has now turned into widespread concern among KPTU members. We are very aware that a Trump presidency will have a deep impact not only on American workers and the communities the live in, but on workers and common people around the world.

 

We imagine that American labor movement in now engaged in an important process of evaluating why the elections turned out this way. In South Korea, we are also trying to understand why this could have happened and to learn lessons from it, which can help us in formulating our future political strategies and plan for the fight ahead.

 

We recognize that the United States has a long history of racism, sexism and homophobia and that this played a part in Trump’s election. We also know, however, that the majority of American workers and community members (who did not vote for Trump) oppose the extreme hatred Trump represents. We have gained strength from the protests that continue to go on across America in a public rejection of Trump’s leadership.

 

Further, we understand many working-class Americans are hurting deeply from the recent economic crisis and austerity measures on top of decades of neoliberal policies and deindustrialization. The fact that Trump spoke to their fears and hopes, while the Democratic Party did not, was one of the main reasons he was elected. Much of the same is true for the case of the Vote Leave campaign in the U.K., which resulted in many British workers choosing Brexit.

 

Like you, we are afraid about what will come next.

 

For all his talk about creating jobs we are concerned that Trump’s presidency will be bad for the American working class. Tax cuts for businesses, the expansion of right to work, and conservative-dominated Supreme Court and NLRB will pose grave challenges to American unions in the near future. As we fight regressive labor reforms and trade union repression in our own country, we promise to stand with you in your struggle against pro-business policies and an attack on trade union rights in the U.S.

 

We are afraid that even before Trump’s policies are implemented his elections is leading to a rise in xenophobia, racism and violence. We have already read reports of an increase of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-people of color, anti-LGBTQ and anti-women violence on and offline since the elections.

 

 

As many in the U.S. labor movement have already stated, it is essential that American unions stand by and strengthen solidarity with women, people of color, immigrants and other vulnerable groups at this time. KPTU has for a long time drawn inspiration from commitment to immigration reform, opposing anti-black racism, LGBTQ and women’s rights by our counter parts in the US labor movement. We will continue to look to you for leadership in this area, which is needed more and ever at this time.

 

 

We fear that along with Brexit, Trumps election will provoke a retreat to nationalism and isolationism in the United States in other countries. History shows that what governments move in this direction in the service of national capital, national working classes often fall in step rather than reaching out to each other to build solidarity in our collective interests.

 

For this reason, we believe it is now essential that we strengthen the international exchange of opinions and solidarity between workers and unions.

 

Some unions in the U.S. have expressed willingness to work with Trump, particularly on issues such as the renegotiation of free trade agreements. We recognize and support the desire to use this moment as an opportunity to create jobs for American workers.

 

Driven by the interests of capital, neoliberal globalization has deprived workers in all countries of jobs and forced them into a race to the bottom. Like American unions, the Korean labor movement has fought fiercely against this trend. 

 

At the same time we are concerned that Trump’s administration will pursue a trade and foreign policy direction in the interest of businesses and the elite only, to the detriment of workers everywhere.

 

In East Asia, some of the policies that Trump has suggested he will pursue, including the renegotiation of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement and a renegotiation of the terms of the U.S.- Korea military alliance, will have a direct impact on Korea workers’ lives. As the Trump administration’s policies in these areas becomes more clear, we hope to communicate closely with our counterparts in the American labor movement to develop common positions and strategies towards achieving our collective goals of fair trade, decent work and demilitarization.

 

Just as you face a political crisis in the United States we are also facing one here in Korea. A massive corruption scandal involving President Park Geun-hye has led to the eruption of a people’s movement calling for her resignation, which is growing in strength as it combines with the struggle of Korean worker’ against the Park administration’s anti-worker policies. We clearly understand this struggle of Korean workers as part of a global working class struggle already underway in the United States and many countries in Europe against regressive labor reforms.

 

Right now, Korean unions are seeking to organize public rage at the Park Geun-hye government’s corruption into a movement to change a social system based on collusion between government and corporations into one that is based on equality and democratic social and political rights.

 

Let us work together to make this period of crisis into an opportunity for workers around the world. Let’s make a bold commit to cooperate to working together across racial, and national differences to realize our shared values of fairness, equality, trade union rights, real democracy in each of our countries and on a global scale.

 


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2016-11-23 22:05:38
<![CDATA[2차 침탈 규탄 성명(영) KPTU Statement on Second Raid Office Raid]]>

Statement in Condemnation of the South Korean Government’s Raids on Union Offices and Expansion of State Repression

 

- Nov. 21. Police carry out blitz raids on KCTU, KPTU and other union offices.

 

In the early morning of 21 November, the South Korean police began surprise search and seizure procedures on the offices of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), the Korean Public Services and Transport Workers’ Union (KPTU) and other main KCTU affiliates. The raids, which follow on an earlier raid of the KPTU office on 6 November, were extensive and all encompassing. Police seized not only all documents and materials related to the People’s Mass Mobilisation held on 14 November, but also documents related to the KPTU-TruckSol’s Safe Rates Rally held separately on the same day. They also took files related to a 16 April Sewol memorial event and May Day and other KCTU rallies. The scope of search and seizure makes it clear that the government is seeking to crackdown not only the 14 November People’s Mass Mobilisation, but on the entire movement for workers’ rights and a just and safe society.  


We are both outraged and horrified by this extreme repression of the labour movement and democracy in general. Since the end of military dictatorship the South Korea government has not until now ventured such an all-encompassing attack on the KCTU and its affiliates in response to legitimate protests. It appears as if the government feels it must turn to violence given the widespread public opposition to its policies. This Park Geun-hye’s direct and violent suppression demonstrates that the democracy that Korean workers’ and common people have fought for over the course of several decades is being turned back to the age of military dictatorship.

 

The farmer Nam-gi Baek, who collapsed after being hit head-on by a water cannon on 14 November, now lies in a state of near-death. The government should be investigating and seeking to correct the brutal and illegal actions that have snatched Baek from his family. Instead, however, it is expanding its violence and repression to target the entire labour movement. Where is the sense in this? It seems as if the repetition of violence is the Park government’s only law and principle.

 

The extreme repression we experienced today has made us gravely aware that our struggle to defend workers’ fundamental rights is now a struggle to defend democracy itself. The history that the Park Geun-hye government now seeks to erase through its unilateral revision of text books is the people’s history of overcoming dictatorship and advancing democracy through struggle. Now, we workers will write that history once more. Together with the KCTU, the whole working class and the common people of Korea we will fight back against dictatorship for the restoration of democracy.   

 

2015.11.21.

KCTU-Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union


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2015-11-30 21:37:0
<![CDATA[국제연대행동호소문(영문): Raid on KPTU Office, Call for Solidarity]]>

File Ref.:          KPTU-ER-2015-818     

Date:              10 November 2015

Subject:       Call for Solidarity Action Protesting Raid in KPTU Office          

Dear Friends and Allies,

On the morning of 6 November, the South Korean police attempted a raid on the headquarters of the KCTU-Korean Public Service and Transport Workers' Union (KPTU). The pretext for the raid was a police investigation of a high altitude protest being carried out by striking KPTU Cargo Truckers Solidarity Division (KPTU-TruckSol) owner driver members who haul goods for the food products company Pulmuone. In addition to searching the TruckSol office on the 2nd floor of the KPTU's building, however, police attempted to raid upper floors housing the KPTU secretariat and other KPTU-affiliated institutions. They were stopped by protesting union members and supporters

We are outraged at this attempted raid, which was both an act of repression against KPTU-TruckSol’s legitimate struggle for safety, standard rates and union rights for truck drivers and an attempt to intimidate the entire KPTU in our fight against the government’s anti-worker policies. (Please find the Attachment 2: Background Information.)

Many unions around the word have already expressed their willingness to stand in solidarity with us. This outpouring of support is greatly appreciated and is much needed to stop further repression. We thus ask for your support by delivering a protest letter to the Korean Embassy or Consulate in your country in person, by email or fax. Please see the attached sample letter (Attachment 1: Sample Protest Letter). Letters can be delivered any time beginning on 13 November.

Please also fax a copy to Pulmuone or upload to Pulmuone’s facebook (fax: +82 2 6499 0137, + 82 42 627 2112, facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pulmuonelove).

Letters from unions in the U.S. can be mailed to Pulmuone’s U.S. office at: 2315 Moore Avenue, Fullerton, CA 92833

 

Please also send a copy to the KPTU by fax (+82 2 497 0444) or email (kptu.intl@gmail.com).

Unions in the U.S. and Japan can also support the Pulmuone workers’ struggle and help bring Pulmuone to the negotiating table by picketing at Pulmuone’s overseas offices. Please contact us to coordinate if you can organise such an action. (Contact: Wol-san Liem, kptu.intl@gmail.com)

With your support we promise so stand strong and continue our fight!

 

In solidarity,

 

Sangsu Jo

President

Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union (KPTU)

 


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2015-11-12 18:35:18
<![CDATA[풀무원 화물노동자 고공농성(영문) Pulmuone Drivers' Begin High Altitude Protest]]>

Pulmuone Truck Drivers Begin High Altitude Sit-in Protest for Safe Rates and Working Conditions and Union Recognition

 

On 24 October, two owner operator truck drivers who haul goods for the food products company Pulmone began a high altitude sit-in protest atop a 30 meter high billboard tower in front of the South Korean National Assembly building. The two workers, member of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union Cargo Truckers Solidarity Division (KPTU-TruckSol) began this protest because Pulmuone is refusing to negotiate despite its drivers having been on strike now y 51 days. Instead, the company is engaging in union repression, which has left many union members injured.

Pulmuone drivers began their strike on 4 September calling on Pulmuone to uphold past agreements to raise rates and improve unsafe conditions, stop union repression and recognise the workers’ union.

Pulmuone’s excessive efforts to cut costs means these workers drive 12-13 hours a day, delivering Pulmuone’s fresh good all over the country. The company pressures them to illegal alter their trucks so they can overload. In addition excessive work force cuts mean drivers now take care of loading and unloading themselves in spite of the significant dangers involved. Yet, because they are considered ‘independent contractors’ by law, these owner drivers are not covered by industrial accident insurance. They frequently become injured or ill as a result of the difficult work and long hours, but Pulmuone drivers have to cover all of their own hospital bills. On the other hand, Pulmuone drivers’ rates have been frozen for the last 20 years.

These conditions are not only harmful to drivers. By forcing drivers to engage in dangerous driving practices that can easily lead to accidents, they put the public at risk as well. Roughly 1200 people die a year on South Korean roads due to truck accidents.

The Pulmuone drivers’ high-altitude protest comes only a week after an ILO tripartite meeting on safety and health in the road transport sector passed resolutions acknowledging the role of cargo owners (clients) like Pulmuone in pressuring workers to engage in dangerous driving practices in an effort to maximise profits. The meeting’s tripartite participants passed a resolution calling for ILO research on best practices to counter this problem, including the Australian Safe Rates model, with the goal of developing a handbook and eventually a code of practice for guaranteeing fair remuneration and safe roads. (http://www.itfglobal.org/en/news-events/press-releases/2015/october/un-agency-agrees-ride-sharing-and-road-safety-action-plans/)

In South Korea, KPTU-TruckSol has been fighting to win a Standard Rates System very much like Australian Safe Rates, which would hold cargo owners (clients) like Pulmuone accountable for fair rates and safety for drivers and the public throughout their supply chains. Despite a government promise, this system has not yet been in acted in South Korea. Sadly if it had been, the Pulmuone drivers would not have to be on strike or living 30 meters in the air in protest at this moment.

The message of the recent ILO meeting and of that of the Pulmuone drivers’ protest are essentially the same. Cargo owners (clients) at the top of supply chains must be made accountable to treat workers with fairness, pay them decently for the work they do and ensure that they do not have to put themselves or others at risk while they do it. It is time to put this principle into practice in South Korea by introducing safe standard rates. Until this happens we can be sure that disputes like the one at Pulmuone will continue to occur, truck drivers will continue to suffer under dangerous conditions and community members will continue to die on our roads


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2015-10-24 22:57:32
<![CDATA[풀무원 파업투쟁(영) Pulmuone Drivers Strike for Rights and Safety]]>

 

Pulmuone – ‘Wholesome Foods’ hide Unwholesome Deeds

KPTU-TruckSol Pulmuone members on strike for rights for truck drivers and safety for the public… spend the holidays on the pick line  

 

Pulmuone Drivers’ Strike

Since 4 September KPTU-TruckSol members have been striking against the large Korean food goods company Pulmuone (overseas branches in Japan, U.S., China). Pulmuone drivers joined KPTU-TruckSol last year, because they could no longer bear the 20-year long freeze in rates, long hours and unsafe driving conditions forced on them by Pulmuone. After two strikes, they won an agreement with the company, which promised to respect their union and continue to negotiate to improve conditions.

 

Now, Pulmuone is not only not respecting its past agreements, it is also trying to force workers to sign a new agreement forbidding them from identifying their vehicles as union trucks (essentially revoking union recognition) and levying huge penalties on those who disobey. 

 

During the nearly month long strike, several workers have been severely injured while passing out leaflets to other truck drivers or at the hands of police and hired thugs who have raided their strike encampment. Pulmuone drivers spent the recent Korean harvest holiday, Chuseok (26 - 29 September), away from their families in the hospital or on the picket line.

  

‘Veteran’ the Movie

Recently the Korean Action movie ‘Veteran’ by Seung-wan Ryoo opened in theaters in North America. This movie depicts a truck driver who joins the KPTU Cargo Truckers Solidarity Division (KPTU-TruckSol), but has his contract cancelled in retaliation. When he goes to the Chaebol (conglomerate) client for help and to get his back wages, he is literally physically beat up.

 Sadly, this fictitious violence is being repeated in reality by Pulmuone and other big road freight clients in South Korea. The violence is both direct, like the union repression experience by striking Pulmuone drivers (the worker below spent the holidays in the hospital after being beaten by thugs), and indirect, where clients put pressure on drivers to drive under dangerous conditions that put everyone at risk.

Dangerous Driving Conditions Rampant in South Korea’s Trucking Industry

In South Korea (as in many countries), large companies at the top of the supply chains, keep rates of payment low and use the fact that the vast majority of Korean truck drivers are ‘owner drivers’ as an excuse to refuse to recognise their union and force them to accept inhumane contract conditions.

 

As a result, truck drivers are under pressure to speed, overload, drive fatigued, skip on maintenance and engage in other dangerous driving practice in order to make ends meet. Roughly 1200 people die on our roads every year as a result of truck-related accidents. 

 

To fight these problems KPTU-TruckSol, has been fighting for a safe rates system like the one recently introduced in Australian, known in Korea as ‘standard rates’. This system would make clients and transport companies accountable for fair rates, which would make it possible for drivers to drive safely. Despite a government promise to implement this system in 2009, legislation has yet to be passed. The fight goes on!

 

The strike of Pulmuone workers is part of a large struggle to make companies at the top of supply chains accountable for public safety and workers’ rights. Please give these workers your support.

 

You can do this by:

1. Watching the videos ‘Story of Pulmuone Drivers’ (Be sure to click ‘like’ and leave a message of support!)

  Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaCsBHXn8S8

  Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWtq7j4pAQw&feature=youtu.be

 

2. Making sure other people see these videos by spreading them on social media.

 

3. Boycotting Pulmuone

 

4. Taking a solidarity picture with attached sign and posting it to your and Pulmuone’s social media.

  - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pulmuonelove

- Twitter: @pulmuonelove

- Blog: http://blog.pulmuone.com/

Please also send a copy to kptu.intl@gmail.com to be shared with striking workers.

 

 

 


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2015-09-29 14:40:5
<![CDATA[노사정야합, 투쟁계획(영문) KCTU/KPTU Anti-Labour Market Reform Struggle]]>

KTCU/KPTU Begin Struggle against Contentious Tripartite ‘Agreement’ and Government’s Labour Market Reforms

Emboldened by concessions made by the Korean Federation of Trade Unions (FKTU), one of Korea’s two national centres, the South Korean government has moved into full gear in its pursuit of labour market reforms that would make it easier to fire workers, cut wages and expand precarious work. Despite much opposition from the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (the other national centre), and some affiliates within its own ranks, the FKTU reached a tentative agreement on labour market reform with government and employer representatives on 13 September. On 14 September the FKTU held a contentious central executive committee to vote on the agreement. Despite violent protests from some FKTU members and an attempted protest suicide on behalf of the FKTU-Metal Workers Federation president, the FKTU eventually signed the final agreement this morning.

The False Agreement and the Government’s Plans

The agreement signed gives the government the go ahead (following further consultation) to create new guidelines that empower employers to freely fire workers based on performance evaluations or worsening business conditions. The guidelines will also stipulate the introduction of performance-based pay and wage peak systems, which will senior workers’ wages on the pretext of creating jobs (despite the fact that data shows new jobs will not in fact result). Further, the guidelines will make it possible for employers to change employment rules to facilitate the introduction of new wage systems without consulting workers’ representatives. In addition, the government is planning new legislation that will expand precarious employment by increasing the length of time a worker can be employed on a temporary contact from 2 to 4 years and expanding the permitted use of temp workers.

The enactment of the new government guidelines will have a massive impact on public sector workers, especially since the agreement signed by the FKTU targets public institutions as the first testing ground for the planned reforms. It is likely that members of the Korean Public and Transport Workers’ Union (KPTU) and other public sector workers will experience the rapid unilateral introduction of disadvantageous wage systems and easy firing unless we are able to effectively fight back.

The KCTU’s Struggle Plans

For this reason, the KCTU and KPTU have chosen a different strategy from the FKTU. While the FKTU and government and employer representatives signed the agreement on the morning of 15 September, the KCTU, KPTU and other KCTU affiliates held a protest rally in front of the Economic Social Development Commission building where the signing was taking place. During the rally, union leaders shaved their heads to symbolise their resolve to stop the labour market reforms. Following, the KCTU held a press conference to announce it plans, which include rallies through this week building up to a full out struggle including massive strike action in timing with the National Workers Day rally 14 November and continuing beyond.

The KPTU will hold a Central Committee Meeting on 16 November at which it will decide on concretise strike and protest actions in accordance with the KCTU’s plans.


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2015-09-15 16:42:26
<![CDATA[운수.물류 조합원 파업 소식(영문) KPTU transport/logistics members on strike!]]>

CEVA Logistics Korea and CJ Korea Express Workers on Strike!

KCTU-KPTU transport and logistics workers are engaged in two struggles against global logistics companies who refuse to live up to past agreements with workers' unions and are engaging in vicious labour rights violations. 

This morning (July 14) the KPTU Air & Sea Port Transport Division Ceva Logistics Branch held a press conference in front of the Netherlands Embassy calling on the embassy to intervene to find a settlement in the dispute with the Netherlands' based company that is now in its 23rd day. Despite being known in the Netherlands as a company that respects workers, CEVA Korea is refusing to uphold an agreement reached with workers last year on bonus pay and is using illegal strike breakers and other illegal union busting tactics. 

After the press conference CEVA branch members visited the KPTU Cargo Truckers' Solidarity Division CJ Korea express parcel delivery workers, who are their second day of a high altitude protest and 37th day of strike. CJ Korea Express, a Korean company with a global forwarding network, is also refusing to live up to past agreements with the union and has now filed claims for damages suits against the union and its officers work billions of won. Workers from the two companies shared their experiences with each other and promises to fight along side one other. 

CEVA Korea workers are also being supported by FNV in the Netherlands, TWU in Australia and other unions organising CEVA workers around the world. 

Both the KPTU Ceva Branch and TruckSol CJ Korea express workers will take part in KCTU's general strike tomorrow, each holding their own pre-rallies.


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2015-07-14 15:39:9
<![CDATA[424 총파업 소식(영문): KPTU members participate in General Strike]]>

Korean Public Service and Transport Workers Participate in General Strike Action

 

On 24 April tens of thousands of South Korean workers came out into the streets as part of the Korean Confederation of Trade Union’s General Strike demanding an end to regressive labour market reform and public pension cuts, introduction of a KRW 10,000 minimum wage and guarantee of fundamental labour rights for all workers.

 

Within a context of ever-growing inequality, Korean workers and common people’s rage against the government is growing around several issues. These include the government’s attempts to unilaterally introduce performance-based wage systems, make it easier to fire workers and expand precarious employment, its continued blocking of a fair investigation of the sinking of the Sewol Ferry in April 2014, and recent revelations of government corruption.

 

Protests have been growing in size and intensity with over 100 thousand workers gathered in 17 locations around the country on April 24th. On the 25th, another massive protest was held by teachers and public servants focusing specifically on the pension reform issue.

Korean public and transport workers have been at the centre of these struggles with 10,000 members of the KPTU participating on the 24th. Precarious workers in public services held a pre-rally before the main general strike rally calling for legislation and funding to improve their conditions and formalise their status as public sector workers. Members of the KPTU Education Workers Solidarity Division (education support workers) were the heart of this protest. They also participated in strike rallies around the country, including Daegu, where water cannons were used against them and other workers.


The KPTU Air and Sea Port Transport Division (KPTU ASPT) also held a pre-rally calling for the reinstatement of transport workers fired by the snack and ice cream producer Binggrae when their jobs were outsourced last year. The company is refusing to reinstate the workers despite Ministry of Labour and court rulings calling on Biggrae to bring them on as permanent employees. Cargo truck drivers, members of the KPTU Cargo Truckers Solidarity Division (KPTU-TruckSol), also participated in the strike, decorating their trucks with banners calling for safe rates and working conditions. 


Hospital workers were also a main force during the General Strike rally. In particular, workers at Seoul National University Hospital began an indefinite strike against commercialisation of healthcare and union repression the day before on April 23. They will be joined by workers from Kyungpook National University Hospital on April 29.

 

The KCTU and KPTU are building up for May Day, followed by more strike action in June and throughout the year.             


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2015-04-27 13:58:55
<![CDATA[공공운수노조 총파업 참가(영문): KPTU Ed Support, Health Workers join Strike]]>

Education Support, Hospital and other Public and Transport Workers Join the April 24 General Strike!

 

On April 24, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) will go on general strike against the Park Geun-hye government and its anti-labour, anti-people people policies. Park’s government is continuing its attack on the public sector and all workers, seeking to weaken public pensions, cut public workers’ benefits and rights, stimulate competition through performance-based  pay, and privatise healthcare, transport and other need public services. The government is also pushing a ‘basic plan on precarious work’ that will expand precarious employment and essentially force it on all workers. At the same time, the government is refusing to move forward with a fare investigation of the sinking of the Sewol Ferry that happened year ago, willfully turning its back on the families of the some 300 victims and repressing their desperate protests with water canons and arrests.


Korean workers, among them the members of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union (KPTU), are striking to protest all of these measures,. KPTU education workers (members of KPTU’s Education Solidarity Division) will be at the forefront, striking on the 24th against the government’s precarious worker policy and calling for legislation and funding that will make possible secure employment and decent work in schools and other public institutions. KPTU hospital workers (Seoul National University Hospital, Kyungpook University Hospital) will join them, protesting the commercialisation of healthcare and repression against unions who stand up to it. These groups will be joined by other KPTU workers employed in sectors that range from private transport to public utilities. 


Seoul National University Hospital Workers’ will begin their strike a day early on April 23. KPTU EdSol members will join other public sector precarious workers in a pre-rally before the main strike protest on April 24. Before these actions, on April 21, KPTU members in safety-related jobs (transport, utilities, healthcare, etc.) held an ‘Action Day for Public Safety’, calling for a just resolution to the Sewol tragedy and the regulation of capitalist greed needed to create a truly safe society. 


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2015-04-22 13:29:47
<![CDATA[경북 초동돌봄전담사 파업 투쟁(영문): KPTU Ed Support Workers Return to Work]]>

KPTU Education Support Workers Return to Work after 20-day Strike

 

- Real gains made, but more work to be done.

 

After over 20 days of strike and sit-in protest, Northern Gyeongsang Province after-school instructors, members of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union Education Solidarity Workers Division (KPTU-EdSol), have returned to work. On 1 March they and their union reached an agreement with local school authorities saving their jobs and securing their working conditions. As such, the union members returned to work on 2 March.

 

Over 500 of the 700 elementary school after-school instructors in the Northern Gyeonggi area are employed through contracts that stipulate extremely sort-working hours – less than 15 a week. These workers face extreme job insecurity when their contracts end every year in February and often work more than their stipulated hours and pay, but with no guarantee of severance pay, days off or the possibility of permanent employment.

 

To win correction of this situation, roughly 30 members of KPTU-EdSol began a strike and sit-in protest at the Northern Gyeongsang Office of Education on 11 February. Their struggle led to an agreement with education authorities guaranteeing continued employment, over 15 hours of work a week, the establishment of a principle for transferring workers to unlimited duration contracts and further negotiations to improve conditions.

 

The agreement is the result of a tenacious struggle during which the female union members spent cold nights on the floor of the Education Office and were brutally arrested, police climbing on top of them to cut the chains with which they had bound their bodies together. The union members gave up spending the Lunar New Year’s holiday (18 to 22 February) with their family to continue their fight.

 

KPTU-EdSol has won an important victory, but the struggle continues as some school principals are refusing to uphold the agreement. Moreover, the long-term task of winning permanent employment remains.

 

KPTU-EdSol will continue to fight until the rights of elementary school after-school instructors and all education support workers in Korea are respected. As part of this campaign, we are reading ourselves for strike action in timing with the Korean Confederation of Trade Union’s General Strike on 24 April.     

 


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2015-03-05 14:30:54
<![CDATA[KTX승무원 대법원 판결 규탄 기자회견(영문): KTX On-Board Staff Vow to Fight]]>

Following Supreme Court Ruling, Female KTX On-board Staff Vow Continued Fight

 

- Supreme Court overturn lower court’s decision finding of an actual employment relationship between Korail and subcontracted female on-board staff

 

- Workers face having to pay back USD 100 thousand in wages and court fees.

 

For close to ten years, female KTX (high speed train) on-board staff have been fighting for recognition of their direct employment relationship with the Korean Railroad Corporation (Korail).

 

These workers were formally employed through a subcontracting company and had their contracts terminated in 2006.

 

In 2008, thirty-four women filed a lawsuit to prove their employment relationship with the Korail leading to victories in both the administrative and high courts. Judges found in favour of the workers’ favour on the basis that their work was closely integrated with that of the Korail-employed team leaders who oversaw them.

 

On February 26, however, the Supreme Court overturned the lower courts’ rulings in a surprisingly reactionary decision. Now each of the thirty-four workers faces having to return wages the low court had ordered the Korail to pay them while the trial was going on, along with trail fees, totalling roughly USD 100 thousand a person.

 

Distraught and unable to pay back the amount, some workers have begun to talk of divorce in order to spare their families of the financial burden.

 

But they have not given up their determined to fight. On 4 March, the KTX workers, along with their union the KPTU-Korean Railway Workers Union (KRWU), held a press conference condemning the court’s decision and announcing a continued struggle.

 

At the press conference the KRWU KTX On-Board Personnel Branch spoke emotionally about her reaction to the Supreme Court decision. “On the night of the 26th, I couldn’t sleep all night after hearing the Supreme Court’s ruling. I just stared forward blankly, the tears rolling down. I never thought our bitter struggle over the last ten years would come to this futile end,” she admitted. “But, she promised, “We begin our fight anew, and we will not stop fighting until we can return to our jobs on the KTX. Please help us.”



In its press conference statement, the KRWU noted the implications of the Supreme Court decision for rail safety. The statement reads, in part, “The outsourcing that began with KTX on-board staff has now spread throughout the railway, threatening safety at every level. The Supreme Court has now given a license to the Korail to avoid its responsibility for rail safety and continue its indiscriminate use of subcontracted workers.”

In his speech KRWU President Young-hoon Kim promised to continue the fight and called on the Korail management to “Begin unconditional dialogue with the union to find a responsible solution to the problem.” 


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2015-03-05 14:23:53