On Wednesday 6 July over 20,000 members of the Korean Construction Workers’ Union (KCWU, an affiliate of the BWI affiliated Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Unions (KFCITU) stopped work, holding a rally in the Seoul City Square to support their 18 demands to the government.
The workers split into three groups and held three separate rallies at Seoul Station, Independence Memorial Park and East Gate Square in the morning, before taking to the street and heading towards the centre of Seoul for the main rally in the afternoon. The main rally came to an end peacefully by reaffirming their commitment to achieving the 18 demands, overcoming the current attacks on the trade union movement and ensuring safe and decent working conditions at construction sites.
“The determined resolve of the KCWU to continue their organising work in the face of growing trade union repression is a point of immense pride for BWI,” said Ambet Yuson, BWI General Secretary. “We express our deep support for KCWU’s ongoing organising activity, particularly with regard to their work on the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, and furthermore reiterate our solidarity with the 15 KCWU tower crane union leaders who have been subject to politically-motivated charges.” The BWI also provided solidarity video messages for the main rally.
Opposition lawmakers Woo Won-sik (The Minjoo Party), Jeong Dong-yeong (The People’s Party), Kim Jong-hun (independent) and Yun Jong-o (independent) also took part in the rally and listened to the voices of construction workers first hand. Jeong Dong-yeong, a former presidential candidate from the main opposition party, announced that on that very day he would propose a bill that would limit subcontracting based on the construction budget. This is one of the major items of the 18 demands for the government.