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KGEU Breaking News 7 / 15th November 2004

KGEU strike launched, Suppression getting bitter

The KGEU launched a strike as it has planned and the government has escalated suppression without coming out to talks with the union.

In spite of the government continuous threatening and police blockade, thousands of government employees managed to join annual workers' rally organised by the KCTU in which more than 60 thousands workers participated, in Seoul on 14th, Sunday.

During the rally KIM Young-Gil, President of KGEU, who has been under an arrest warrant, suddenly showed up at the rally stage, and declared that KGEU would launch a strike from 09:00 on 15th, Monday.

Followings are excerpts of KGEU manifesto for strike stated by President KIM Young-Gil.

"Dear fellow citizens.

Our strike is the first step to purge of corruption and undemocratic practices in civil service turning away from the chain of submission and silence. Now we the government employees are trying to grip a banner of strike to create new civil service for people by fully guarantee of basic labour rights. We cannot help launching a strike. It is tough and painful choice. But we promise you that today's discomfort and inconvenience which our strike may cause would be back to you as far better public service tomorrow.

Dear brothers and sisters of working class.

When you fought at the risk of your lives for democratisation of this society against the powerful and the capital, we remained lackeys and tool for them. Now we repent of our past and try to pay off the debt. The banner of KGEU and its members will be with you at the struggles for defeating neo-liberalism, impeding FTAs, abolition of discrimination against irregular workers, and reunification. Again we swear that till the day when workers, peasants, and all the excluded are emancipated, the KGEU will always be with you.

Dear my colleagues of KGEU at last.

In spite of ruthless suppression by the government and the police, we have been able to be here to declare launching a strike. We are well aware that our demand for full guarantee of basic labour rights is so justified and legitimate because those are our only weapon to do our duty for truthful reform of civil service for people and eradication of graft and corruption. The managers say that a hard rain of suppression is falling so that we had better refrain. However, I dare say, if all of us are in the rain, it is just cooling and refreshing us, but only a few of us are there, it becomes a fierce flood to sweep them away. We have nothing to lose any more, and shall not step back. Let's rewrite history of victory with our determination instead of retrogression of history. The only choice against this arrogant government is a general strike. It's because we cannot be back to the shameful past when we were lackeys of the regime. Firmly convinced of progress of history, I declare that 140,000 members of the KGEU will launch a general strike from 09:00 in the morning on 15th of November, 2004. "

After declaring a general strike at the rally, the KGEU members scattered and gathered again at Yonsei University in Seoul hours later. Around 5,000 members of KGEU and other organisations managed to get in and held a government employees rally confirming the coming general strike. But as the police raid was expected, the KGEU members had to be scattered again. 09:00 in this morning, they entered into another university and held a strike rally. When they got our of the university, 25 members were arrested.

As of 09:00, 15th, 77 chapters of KGEU nationwide launched a strike and 45 thousand government employees joined the strike. And 8,000 members who left their workplaces to join the strike rally are waiting for the next step of strike tactics in all over Seoul.

The government has stated that all the participants in the illegal collective activities organised by the KGEU will be completely excluded, and that dismissed government employees will never be reinstated, and that the jobs that would get vacant due to mass dismissal will be filled up with immediate new employment.

16 thousands of riot cops have been deployed around 239 of government offices nationwide. The government and the police say that any government employees who are away from work without permission or leaving offices earlier will be arrested as criminals in an act of crime. As of now, more than 110 KGEU members have been arrested. KIM Hyeong-Cheol, chairperson of Committee for Political Empowerment was arrested after KCTU's rally on Sunday. JEONG Woo-Wan, executive director of finance, was arrested when he tried to get access to his email account at an internet cafe. Among those arrested, there are KIM Yong-Seong, Chair of KGEU National Assembly Secretariat Branch, GWON Jong-Mahn, Chair of Yeongdeungpo-gu Chapter of KGEU Seoul Branch, and NAM Hyeon-Woo, Chair of Gangseo-gu Chapter of KGEU Seoul Branch. Your solidarity desperately needed! Please send your message to the Korean government demanding to stop the repression and to come up to talks with the KGEU. Solidarity Message to the KGEU, protest letter to the Korean government and protest visit to Korean mission abroad may be a lot helpful.

Followings are where you are expected to send your message;

President ROH Moo-hyun, The President of Republic of Korea 1 Sejong-no, Jongno-gu Seoul 110-820, Republic of Korea / E-mail: president@cwd.go.kr , Fax: +82-2-770-0347

Prime Minister LEE Hae-Chan, Office of the Prime Minister, Republic of Korea , 77-6, Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-760, Korea / Email: m_opm@opm.go.kr / Fax: +82-2-720-3571

Minister HUH Sung Kwan, The Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, The Government Central Building, 77-6 Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-760, Korea / Email: minister6@mogaha.go.kr / Fax: +82-2-3703-5501

CC: KGEU Fax: +82-2-2631-1949 Email: kisto@jinbo.net / kgeu@kgeu.org

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