Korean union under fire. Take action now!
(31/01/2013) On 15 January, KGEU president, Kim Jungnam went on indefinite hunger strike to protest the treatment of his members. Kim represents Korean government employees but the union has been declared illegal by the Korean government, and to date 137 workers have been sacked for engaging in legitimate trade union activities.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis, in a letter to the Korean ambassador, has called on the government of South Korea to speak to the union.
KGEU have called on the international community to support them in their campaign for the union to be recognised and for all the sacked workers to be reinstated. They want as many signatures as possible to present to the president-elect of South Korea, Park Geun-hye in the run up to her inaugeration.
On Wednesday 30 January, after 16 days on hunger strike Kim collapsed and was rushed to hospital. The next day over 700 colleagues from KGEU staged a protest in Seoul Square, and the leadership had their heads shaved as a mark of protest at the government's intransigence.
This crackdown on KGEU is part of a wider campaign to deny many Korean workers the right to join a union of their choosing and to campaign against huge privatisation programmes of public services.
UNISON supports the right of workers to join a union and to conduct legitimate campaigns in defence of public services and the people who provide them. In Dave Prentis' letter to the Korean ambassador he called on the new president-elect of South Korea to start her term on a positive note by entering into dialogue with KGEU so that the current impasse can be resolved.
Sign and share the Labour Start KGEU petition now.
Send a solidarity message from your branch or region to our colleagues at KGEU email address firstname.lastname@example.org Please copy I.Relations@unison.co.uk