As 13 Korean Railway Workers Union (KRWU) trade union leaders charged with having led what was a legitimate and lawful industrial action made a dignified surrender to police today, the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) blasted the political vendetta behind their arrest. Their placing themselves in the hands of police today was delayed by violent police intervention at the headquarters of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU).
Speaking at a press conference at the KCTU building this morning, Myoung hwan Kim, president of the ITF-affiliated KRWU, said: “The rail strike last year was a completely legitimate and legal struggle. The past precedents of denouncing workers’ legitimate strikes as illegal, repressing them and enacting disciplinary measures must not be repeated. This will be proven in court in due course.”
ITF president Paddy Crumlin said: “This is joke justice. The dignified action by these trade unionists should not obscure the ludicrous nature of what they’re charged with and the police’s behaviour today. KRWU members voted, openly and democratically, to strike to protect Korean Railways against potentially disastrous privatisation.Read more
|Solidarity with Korean Railway Workers.|
Answering the call for further solidarity actions, Australian transport unions joined comrades from other unions outside the South Korean consulate in Sydney today to protest the South Korean government’s rail privatisation agenda.
The Korean Railway Workers Union (KRWU) and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) are engaged in an ongoing struggle to stop the privatisation of public transport.
Late last year, the KRWU reached an agreement with ruling and opposition national assembly members to establish a ‘Subcommittee on the Development of the Rail Industry’ under the National Assembly Committee on Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
|[Picture: MUA Vic Branch Secretary Kevin Bracken addressing supporters in Korea]|
Today, the president of the ITF-affiliated Korean Railway Workers Union (KRWU), Myoung-Hwan Kim, released an international appeal calling upon the ITF and its 700 affiliates worldwide to continue supporting the KRWU’s struggle against rail privatisation.
In the video, President Kim thanked the unions around the world for taking part in solidarity and protest actions including the day of action on 10 December, but urged the ITF and its affiliates to continue mobilsing their members for this campaign against privatization and fragmentation of the Korean railway and repression of the Korean railway workers’ strike.
The ITF has already supported the KRWU’s strike, including through a delegation that was in country from December 11 to 17.Read more
|[Picture: Rally with the Korean Federation of Public Services and Transportation Workers' Unions (KPTU)|
Australian transport unions, and a delegation of their South Korean comrades, were among those who joined the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) in Sydney today to protest the South Korean government’s unpopular new rail restructuring and privatisation programme.
ITF affiliate, the Korean Railway Workers Union (KRWU) launched a strike on Monday in protest against a move to privatise state-run railway operations.
The KRWU strike, the first in four years, comes before the board of the state-run railway operator meets to discuss details of the privatisation plan.Read more