South Korean Police Ransack Trade Union Office

Early morning on Friday 15 July, South Korean police ransacked the Mid-West Gyeonggi regional branch office of the Korean Construction Workers Union (KCWU). The KCWU is affiliated to BWI-affiliate the KFCITU, and the Mid-West Gyeonggi branch was previously subject to the government’s 2003 attacks on local construction unions.

“We condemn the police actions and express our full support to the KCWU, particularly during the on-going trade union repression,” said BWI General-Secretary Ambet Yuson. 

He continued, “We are concerned that this recent raid is reminiscent of similar actions by the police in 2003. At that time, the BWI filed a complaint to the Committee on Freedom of Association of the ILO against the South Korean government. In the end the Committee sided with the union. The BWI will once again launch an international campaign to support the construction unions unless the attacks on South Korean trade unions stop.” 

South Korean Police have recently scrutinised organising activities of the KCWU, and recent organising activities have resulted in the charging of 15 tower crane operators with sentences of up to three years, for so-called ‘blackmailing’ and ‘coercion’. These latest events represent an expansion of the police’s supposed mandate to interfere in legitimate trade union business. 

After confiscating mobile phones from the branch leader and branch education officer the police withdraw, however KCWU officials believe that further police searches will follow.