Socialist Worker

Defying Bush's war and business agenda

Issue No. 1789

A wave of strikes hit South Korea at the start of this week, just days after US president George W Bush faced anti-war protests during his official visit to the country last week.

The demonstrations and strikes by rail, gas, power and manufacturing workers are against privatisation, long working hours and threatened job cuts. The unrest came after Bush included North Korea as part of the 'axis of evil' list of states he has in his sights.

Thousands of students and workers protested against Bush in the South Korean capital, Seoul, last week, and similar protests took place in other cities. 'No war! No F-15! We want peace!' read one banner. 'War crazed' was how another described the US president.

Over 10,000 workers joined a rally in Seoul on Sunday. Gas workers called off their strike after a few hours on Monday, after the government agreed to talks.

Rail and power workers were continuing their strike despite the government declaring it illegal and issuing arrest warrants for 37 union leaders. The social temperature is set to get even higher. On Tuesday the country's second biggest trade union federation, the KCTU, was due to call out 100,000 manufacturing workers.

At least 140 major firms including Hyundai are due to be hit by the all-out strike over long working hours and working conditions.

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Sat 2 Mar 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1789
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