Thursday, 24 January 2013

Call to action - Korean public sector union president on indefinite hunger strike

Guest Post by Eric Lee of Labourstart

The President of the Korean Government Employees' Union (KGEU), Kim Jungnam, launched a hunger strike in the streets of Seoul outside the offices of the Presidential transition committee on 15 January.

He is protesting the sacking of 137 workers, among them the union president and general secretary, who are being punished for their union activities. They are accused of being leaders of an "illegal organization" -- the KGEU.

President-elect Park Guenhye, daughter of the dictator Park Chung-hee, will take office on 25 February.  She has pledged to achieve social integration. The KGEU is demanding that she recognize the union and reinstate the sacked employees.

Kim will continue his hunger strike until these issues are resolved.

We call upon trade unionists around the world to show their solidarity by sending off messages of protest and solidarity today.

Please spread the word - share this message with your friends, family, co-workers and fellow union members. Thank you!

Korean unions are not the only ones suffering from attempts to delegitimize them - so are unions in Russia.  Yesterday, IndustriALL global union launched an international campaign in support of two union locals at Bashneft, an oil company, who are under attack from the management. The administration is trying to undermine the Russian Chemical Workers Union and replace it with a company-controlled Labour Council.  It will take you just a moment to add your support to the online campaign.

Finally, for those of you who live in Europe, I encourage you to support the call by public sector unions on the European Commission to propose legislation implementing the human right to water and sanitation, and promoting the provision of water and sanitation as essential public services for all.  They've gotten over 500,000 signatures -- one of the largest online initiatives we've ever seen by the trade union movement.

That's great, and they need more support, but let's also do what we can to ensure that the campaign in support of Kim Jungnam and the Korean public sector union is also successful.  Spread the word!

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