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Updated: 18.12.2012 15:51
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Massenfestnahmen von Bauarbeitern

Aus Anlass der Protestdemonstration am 15. August in Seoul gegen die Ermordung des Bauarbeiters Ha Jeung Keun durch die südkoreanische Polizei am 1. August nahm die Polizei 736 streikende Bauarbeiter fest, die eine Sitzblockade einer wichtigen Strasse der Hauptstadt organisierten. Zwei Tage später waren 63 von ihnen noch im Gefängnis. Unter den Festgenommenen waren nicht nur Vorstandsmitglieder der Bauarbeitergewerkschaft KFCITU, sondern auch des Gewerkschaftsbundes KCTU. Die (englische) Pressemitteilung (und Solidaritätsaufruf) "736 Korean union members detained in one day, 63 union members still in jail, 1 union member dead, more than 200 members injured, 1 member's wife miscarried" der KFCITU vom 17. August 2006

736 Korean union members detained in one day, 63 union members still in jail, 1 union member dead, more than 200 members injured, 1 member's wife miscarried

Yesterday, over 1,000 members of the Pohang local union, an affiliate of the Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Union (KFCITU) participated in a legal and peaceful demonstration to protest the death of Brother Ha Jeung Keun. Blocked by the police, the union chose to conduct a sitdown demonstration on the streets of Seoul. The riot police responded by forcibly arresting 736 union members including key leadership of the KCTU, the Korean Democratic Labor Party, and the KFCITU. Your support is critical to put international pressure against the South Korean government. ACT NOW and sign our online solidarity campaign protest letter addressed to the President of South Korea.

On August 15, 63 union members of the KFCITU remained in jail for supporting the strike launched by the Pohang local union. Four members of the national and local branches of the KCTU and the General Secretary of the KFCITU are also in jail.

On August 1, Ha Jeun Keun, of the Pohang local union died during a legal demonstration organized by the KFCITU on July 16 supporting the union’s strike that began on July 1.

The union and the family have asked the government to launch a full and impartial investigation on the circumstances leading to the death, fully punish those responsible for his death, and sufficiently compensate the family of Ha Jeung Keun. The family has refused to proceed with any funeral ceremonies until the government agrees to their demands. In addition, the wife of one of the union members who was participating in a sit-down demonstration at POSCO headquarters tragically miscarried as a result of violent confrontation with the riot police during a demonstration on July 19. The union along with a number of women’s groups has launched a complaint against the Human Rights Committee.

In one of the most recent rallies organized by the KCTU, the police injured 186 union members who marched towards POSCO headquarters - some are still seeking medical attention. 16 members were detained - a key leader of the KFCTIU was forcibly pulled down from the union truck and immediately arrested.

Despite the repression by both the government and POSCO, the Pohang local union is committed to continue with their struggle until their demands are fully met. Currently, the KCTU has called for two national rallies to protest the police violence, the government repression against the KFCITU, and to call for the government to accept full responsibility for the death of Ha Jeung Keun. It is ironical that the South Korean government is hosting the ILO Asia Pacific Regional Meeting when it is increasing its repression of trade union rights.

The government’s actions have been to protect the interests of POSCO, a major leading South Korean company, where over 90 per cent of the Pohang members work through a series of sub contractors. Despite the strike, which began on July 1, negotiations between the union and the sub contractors are still proceeding forward, albeit in a turtle’s pace. You will remember that the union’s main demands are a 15 per cent increase in wages, five-day work week, and better working conditions.

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