The Hyundai Motors Irregular Workers Strike Continues!

4 December 2010

Today, December 4, was the 20th day of the Hyundai Motors irregular workers occupation of factory 1 at the Hyundai plant in Ulsan. The struggle has grown since it began on November 15. Yesterday, the Korean Metal Workers Union (KMWU) carried out a work slowdown, with members of the Hyundai and Kia branches (regular workers) refusing to work overtime. Regional branches of the KMWU also refused overtime or carried out two-hour strikes. In addition on December 2, two laid-off members of the GM Daewoo Irregular Workers Chapter climbed the arch above the front entrance to the Daewoo plant in Incheon demanding to be reinstated as regular workers. They have vowed to continue their "high altitude" sit-in protest until their demands are met despite the fact that it is now the middle of winter in South Korea, and Daewoo hired thugs have blocked efforts to lift food up to them.

While several hundreds of Hyundai irregular workers continue to stay day and night without adequate food, cloths or bedding in the Ulsan factory, others have traveled to Seoul to make their struggle known more widely. Today, after a mass protest at Seoul Station Plaza, they and their supporters set up camp in front of the Hyundai-Kia headquarters in the Yangjae district of Seoul. The strikers will remain there with only plastic tarp for shelter until Hyundai Motors agrees to follow the decision of the Supreme Court and regularizes the in-house contracted workers it "indirectly" hires.

This morning, at 8:00am, Hyundai Motors' hired thugs used a forklift and crane to attack the occupied factory in Ulsan. They managed to smash in part of the wall and the window on the third floor of the building, but the protesting workers held their ground. According to the decision reached at the KMWU"s delegates assembly on November 23, the KMWU should have gone on general the moment the factory was attacked. But this has not happened. Rather, under pressure from the Hyundai Motors (regular workers) Branch, KMWU has lowered its goals, and is only planning partial for a partial strike in the next several days. KMWU needs to do the work now to make a real general strike possible!

The Hyundai Motors and GM Daewoo irregular workers struggle is not only about winning job security for a few individuals. It is a struggle against labor flexibilization being carried out by capital and the South Korean government, which affects the entire working class. As such, this struggle has great significance for the lives and working conditions of all workers in South Korea. In that precarious work and labor flexibilization polices are increasing across the globe, the Hyundai and GM Daewoo irregular workers struggles are, in fact, the struggle of workers all over the world.

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