Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Korea Faces Unions Strikes

Korean business and infrastructure faced paralysis this week when the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions went on general strike at 1 p.m. after a labor reform bill passed the committee stage in the National Assembly.

The lines are drawn for a prolonged standoff between government and labor. The government has made clear that it regards the KTCU walkout as illegal because it is motivated by political gain and has vowed to take firm action.

The Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office says it will seek arrest warrants for union leaders who call illegal strikes, and the Korea Employers Federation has warned it will bring civil and criminal lawsuits against unions that go on illegal strikes.

We will continue general strikes until the National Assembly withdraws the non-regular workers bill, the KTCU said.

It said some 150,000 workers (50,000 according to estimates by the Labor Ministry) including those with Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors took part in the strike. [ These are mostly non-regular workers with few benefits. This group has been an ongoing issue.]

The KTCU will rally nationwide to denounce the bill on Wednesday and resume the general strike the next day

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