Socialist Worker

South Korean workers strike back against president

by Kyung-nok Chun in Seoul
Issue No. 2451

President Park Geun-hye

President Park Geun-hye

Some 270,000 workers in South Korea took part in a one-day general strike on Friday of last week.

They are members of the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU). Some 100,000 took to the streets nationwide. 

Strikers included teachers and public service workers. They defied threats by the state that it would prosecute any government employee who took part in the walkout. 

President Park Geun-hye wants to make it easier to sack workers, cut overtime pay and public service pensions. 

The government has been hit by a series of scandals.Prime minister Lee Wan-koo was forced to step down this week after being accused of accepting bribes. He was in office for just two months.

Last week’s general strike is the opening shot of a long hoped for fightback. 

The usually more moderate Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU) has withdrawn from talks over the attacks on workers.

There are now plans to follow up the strike with a joint KCTU and FKTU rally in late May and another general strike in June. But bigger, more drawn-out strikes are needed. 

Revolutionary socialists and union militants have to push to translate the anger at the bottom into initiatives that can pressure union leaders to act.

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Tue 28 Apr 2015, 15:56 BST
Issue No. 2451
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