Last week, on July the first hearing in the appellate court for the 15 tower crane trade unionists who earlier this year were sentenced for “blackmailing” and “obstruction of business” for engaging in collective bargaining negotiations took place. Two of the leaders were sentenced for 2 to 3 years imprisonment while the other 13 were given suspended prison terms of 8 months to 18 months.
According to the Korean Construction Workers Union, no meaningful argument was made, just a short briefing on the case. Both the lawyers for the defendants and prosecutor submitted the appellate brief and the judge confirmed the list of defendants. All of the fifteen union officials who were convicted in the first instance were confirmed as defendants in the appeal court.
The BWI is closely monitoring this case and an international solidarity campaign has been launched to support these trade unionists and the South Korean trade union movement as it is facing a series of attacks by the government which is intent in breaking the trade union movement. This is clear by the recent five-year sentence given to KCTU President Han Sang Gyun.