Global unions condemn South Korea's workers' rights violations, mourn unionist’s death

The world’s global unions are up in arms against the South Korean government’s flagrant violation of trade union rights.  On the first anniversary of South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol's inauguration, the Council of Global Unions (CGU), which represents 200 million workers worldwide, issued a statement expressing grave concern about recent attacks, legal harassment, and interference with legal trade union activity and working people's rights in South Korea. It also mourned the tragic death of Yang, a district head of the Korean Construction Workers Union (KCWU), who set himself on fire to protest government harassment of labor unionists. Yang was one of the people harassed by the South Korean authorities.

Yoon's aggressive union-busting, particularly against construction trade unionists, is unacceptable, according to the global unions. They stated that two years ago, South Korea joined the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and ratified International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions No.87 on freedom of association and No.98 on collective bargaining. They said that these international commitments bind South Korea to fully respect and rcognise trade union rights. 

The CGU demanded the South Korean government to free and drop all charges against trade unionists and workers jailed for exercising their fundamental trade union rights. They stated that the South Korean government must adhere to international labour standards, fully recognise the rights to free association and collective bargaining, and halt the suppression of the South Korean trade union movement.

Read the statement here.