Updates (June 2012)

Ssangyong Workers’ Struggle Continues

On April 6, Ssangyong Motor workers set up an alter in front of Seoul City Hall as a site of commemoration for the 22 workers and family members that have died since mass dismissals were carried out in 2009. The alter has also become a site of continued struggle. The Ssangyong workers and their supporters have defended the alter against police attacks, even rebuilding it from scratch after police destroyed it on May 24. On May 19 the Ssangyong Motor workers were joined by thousands of allies in a mass protest and march in timing with the anniversary of the 1980 Gwangju Democratization Movement. In addition, a representative from the Ssangyong Motor branch of the Korean Metal Workers Union participated in the International Autoworkers Council Meeting in Germany in May to share news of their struggle. Another massive march and all-night protest were held in support of the Ssangyong workers’ struggle on June 16-17.

Janitorial Workers win Wage Increase, Continue Struggle

On April 19 janitorial and security workers organized by the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers Union’s Seoul-Gyeonggi Branch won a collective bargaining agreement that covers workers at 6 worksites. Under this agreement workers will receive a 10.87% wage increase of KRW 5100/hr (USD 4.37/hr), a KRW 60,000/mth (USD 51.46/mth) allowance for meals and KRW 150,000 (USD128.66) in holiday bonuses. Workers a Hongik University continue to fight with the support of their colleagues, however, as the Hongik administration and cleaning companies refuse to recognize the KPTU affiliate claiming that a yellow union they helped to form is the real bargaining representative. On June 15, workers from all worksites held a joint “Janitorial Workers March” calling for an end to the repression at Hongik University and decent conditions for all janitorial and security workers. The American SEIU-Service Workers West Local sent a solidarity video played at the Korean workers’ rally. SEIU janitorial workers also march on June 15 ever year to mark the anniversary of a famous struggle in their Justice for Janitors Campaign.

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