Despite the severe political crisis in South Korea, trade union repression continues. On 26 January 2017 the Daegu District Prosecutor’s Office requested the District Court to issue warranties of custody against the Jwa Choel-seok, chair of the Pohang branch of the Korean Plant Construction Workers’ Union (KPCWU), along with Branch Vice Chair Yu Yeong and Branch General Secretary Hwang Bong-u. The Pohang Branch Court has issued warranties of custody for the three union officials, and the three union leaders are now under arrest.
The BWI thoroughly condemns these attacks on trade union officials that were simply doing their job.
“The BWI thoroughly condemns these attacks on trade union officials that were simply doing their job”, said BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson. “By attacking trade union officials struggling to protect workers’ rights, the South Korean Government is attacking all working people. These political prosecutions must end."
The KPCWU has already been under attack from the South Korea Government. KPCWU President Lee Jong-hwa, has previously been subpoenaed for his role organizing struggles related to the 2016 wage and collective bargaining rounds (late July to early August), along with 23 other union officials. Charges include obstruction of traffic, obstruction of business and violation of the Assembly and Demonstration Act. At the same time, the police ransacked the KPCWU Pohang Branch office, searching officials and their vehicles.
This pattern of harassment, using politically-motivated charges to prevent union officials from doing their job, has also been used against the Korean Construction Workers’ Union (KCWU). Both the KCWU and the KPCWU are members of the Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Unions.