The crackdown against the labour movement in South Korea continues. On the 29th of December, Kim Gi-hong who is a member of the Korea Plant Construction Workers' Union was arrested in his home for taking part in the rally on November 14 against a labour reform that will make it easier for companies to fire workers. A total of 14 members of BWI's affiliate KFCITU have now been arrested and taken into custody.
On the 5th of January the Korean Construction Workers Union (KCWU) welcomed trade union friends from Japan. Koyano Takeshi, General Secretary of the Japanese Construction Transportation Solidarity Union and Park Seung Ha, organizing director of the same union, visited KCWU and had a meeting with the new KCWU leadership.
"The Abe administration and Park government are very similar in attacking organized labor," said General Secretary Koyano and "workers of both countries should strengthen solidarity and stand together."
The new KCWU president Jang Ok Gi expressed gratitude to the Japanese mission and said: "Solidarity between the construction workers of both countries dates back to almost ten years," and "your solidarity will inspire and encourage our members."
On the next day, the mission visited Seoul Correction Facility and met KCWU Organizing Director Jang Hyeong Chang who is in custody on the charge of organizing allegedly illegal demonstration on November 14.
The mission also met Vice President Kim Gyeong Ja of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) to have conversations regarding the current situation on the government's attack on the union movement.
List of KFCITU members in custody:
- Lee Gil-u, President, Daegu & North Gyeongsang Province Site Workers' Branch was arrested on the 24th of June 2015 accused of Organizing the April general strike (on the charges of general obstruction of traffic and violation of the Assembly and Demonstration Act). Pending trial before the court of appeals.
-Lee Ho-yeong, Organizing Director, Daegu & North Gyeongsang Province Regional Headquarters was also arrested with charges of organizing the April general strike on the 11th of September 2015. Pending trial before the court of appeals. Awaiting trial.
-Jang Hyeong-chang, Organizing Department Chief of the Korean Construction Workers Union (KCWU) was arrested on the 18th of December for taking part in organizing the rally that took place on the 14th of November. Awaiting trial.
- Jang Jeong-ho, President of the Gangwon Branch of the Korean Plant Construction Workers Union (KPCWU) was arrested on the 11th of November 2014 and sentenced to 18 month in prison for organizing a rally against an unfair dismissal at the Dangjin Fire Power Plant construction site.
- Park Myeong-hun, member of the KPCWU Jeondong-Gyeongseo Branch, arrested on the 14th of november under charges of violence during the rally that took place the same day. Awaiting trial.
- Kang Beom-jin, member of the KPCWU South Chungcheong Branch, arrested on the 14th of november under charges of violence during the rally that took place the same day. Awaiting trial.
- Kim Dong-geun, President of the KPCWU Gangwon Branch, arrested on the 18th of December 2015 for organizing an on-site struggle at the GS Fire Power Plant construction site. Awaiting trial
- Choi Yeong-cheol, member of the KPCWU Ulsan Branch was arrested on the 24th of December accused of violence on the rally that took place on the 14th of November. Awaiting trial
- Kim Gi-hong Member of the KPCWU Ulsan Branch, arrested on the 29th of December accused of violence on the rally that took place on the 14th of November. Awaiting trial
- Kim Myung-uk, President of the Seoul-Gyeonggi Tower Crane Operators' Branch of the KCWU was arrested with four other members on the 27th of November 2015 accused of blackmailing a tower crane rental company (Junkeyung Tower Crane). Awaiting trial together with:
- Jeong Min-ho, Vice President, Tower Crane Operators' Division
- Lee U-seong, President, Busan-Ulsan-South Gyeongsang Tower Crane Operators' Branch
- Ko Beom-seok, Organizing Manager, Seoul-Gyeonggi Tower Crane Operators' Branch
- Hwang Seong-yong, Organizing Manager, Seoul-Gyeonggi Tower Crane Operators' Branch