Socialist Worker

South Korean occupiers send solidarity message to Vestas workers

Occupying workers at the Ssangyong car plant in Pyeongtaek have sent this solidarity message to the Vestas workers

Issue No. 2162

Occupation 67 days, chimney top protest 76 days!

From Ssangyong Motor workers occupying the Pyeongtaek plant in solidarity with Vestas workers for victory.

Ssangyong Motor workers are in a hard struggle and rightly so against Lee Myung-bak government’s flexible labor policy. At the center of flexible labor policy are practices such as dismissal, early retirement, outsourcing and reshuffling. All meant to destroy a worker’s right to live.

The reason we are fighting is simple. To us, dismissal feels like murder and we are struggling to stop this murderous act. Our confidence and commitment are soaring high like a rocket because everyone knows we are doing the right thing. We will never be defeated.

Ssangyong Motor workers will continue to firmly struggle until there is no such thing as redundancy dismissal. We would like to comradely thank for your solidarity and wish you all victory.

28 July – updates on Ssangyong Motor workers’ strike

The management of Ssangyong Motor announced that it has dismissed 1,670 workers through forced early retirement and will carry out redundancy dismissal of 976 workers. The Ssangyong Motor Branch of the Metal Workers Union has been on strike since 21 May.

Currently more than 1,000 trade unionists, family members of dismissed workers, and supporters are occupying the plant and its surroundings. Trade union members suffering from psychological and physical pain caused by dismissal and are now occupying and living inside the plant to carry out the struggle in desperation for survival.

Civic groups and political parties, both ruling and opposition parties, want peaceful resolution through dialogue and not through violent police raid in the name of state intervention. There were two attempts at dialogue on 18 and 19 June between the management and workers. The workers demanded no redundancy dismissal while the management stated that redundancy dismissal is the precondition for any resolution. The dialogue has not stopped.

On 16 June and 23 June, the management sent hired thugs and closed all the gates so nothing and no one could go into the plant. It is threatening to raid the plant. On 26 and 27 June, the hired thugs attempted to break into the plant inciting the workers who have been stressed out both psychologically and physically due to 35 days of occupation. The management, without shame, also cut internet connection and water to the plant where more than 1,000 workers are occupying.

The trade union proposed to bargain with the government and not the court assigned management that has limited decision making power. However, the government has not responded so far.

The trade union issued a statement saying the government’s neglect and the offensive position of the management are prolonging the dispute and further worsening the situation not only for the Ssangyong Motor workers and families but also auto-parts company partners and economic crisis. We appeal to management to stop immediately the plan to randomly dismiss the workers.

Thanks to Owen Miller and CJ Park

For more on the Ssangyong occupation go to » South Korean factory occupation challenges mass sackings


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