Korean Confederation of Trade Unions – May Day 2023

Korean Confederation of Trade Unions

#MayDay2023 in Seoul. 130,000 KCTU members joined the Mayday rallies in Seoul (35,000) and 15 different provinces.

Yang, Kyeung-soo, president of the KCTU suggested “Raising the minimum wage is the first step to tackling inequality and polarisation. Workers need to work fewer hours and get paid more to make their lives better. We can protect our jobs by standing up to governments that want to privatise public services. To save people’s lives, we need to strengthen health care and public pensions by taxing the rich and powerful, not by raising utility bills.” He emphasized the importance of fundamental labour rights and function of trade unions. “Wages and jobs, people’s livelihoods and public space, all cannot be defended without trade unions. Defending democratic trade unions is a struggle to defend our survival. We must win the revision of Articles 2 and 3 of the Trade Union and Labour Relation Adjustment Act so that all workers can be united in the trade union movement. We need to ensure collective bargaining at industrial level and introduce extended application of CBAs so that all workers can struggle together and win together. In the spirit of International Labour Day, let’s fight together across gender, age, race, and nationality. Only struggle can save us against those who want to take away our rights.”

In the early morning of the day, one of the officers of a local branch of the Korean Construction Workers Union set himself on fire in protest to the government’s targeted prosecution & criminalization of union activity. He was accused of intimidation & blackmailing the employers by ‘requesting collective bargaining on employment security’. In total 15 construction workers are now in jail under the same charges. ITUCITUC – Asia Pacific

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