Global union leaders personally investigate victimisation of South Korean trade unionists

29 July 2016 13:09

Global union leaders will be in court in Seoul on Tuesday the 26th of July to witness the latest in a series of unjust show trials of South Korean union leaders. They will then report on what they have seen directly outside the building. Cho Sung-deok, vice-president of the KPTU (Korean Public Service and Transport Workers' Union), is expected to be sentenced at 10:00 tomorrow 26 July at the Seoul Central District Court House (Room 506), 157 Seocho-Jungangro, Seocho-gu Seoul. 

The International Transport Federation (ITF) are currently visiting South Korea to observe the legal process and to visit, and offer support to other unjustly imprisoned union leaders and their families. 

Cho Sung-deok is the latest person to be sentenced in relation to involvement in the mass people’s mobilisation on 14 November 2015 – the suppression of which by police who used 20,000 officers, 19 water cannon, 679 buses, and 580 pepper spray devices against peaceful marchers – has escaped censure in the courts trying other union leaders. Just two weeks ago Han Sang-gyun, president of the KCTU union centre was sentenced to five years imprisonment on similar charges. 

Ambet Yuson, general secretary of BWI (Building and Wood Workers’ International), stated: “Cho Sung-deok is being prosecuted for speaking out against labour reforms that will impact the lives of South Korean workers and their families. This prosecution is part of a larger attack on the entire trade union movement in the country. In June of this year 15 leaders of the tower crane branch of the Korean Construction Workers’ Union were found guilty under criminal charges for simply engaging in collective bargaining negotiations. Instead of attacking workers for exercising their fundamental democratic rights, the government should investigate and act against the brutal over-violence exercised by the police. We must all stand up against this witchhunt of trade union leaders in South Korea and crackdown on workers’ rights.” 

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