Friday, January 10, 2014

Labor groups picket Korean embassy

Press Release
January 10, 2014

The labor groups Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA), Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) picketed the South Korean embassy today in protest at labor repression in Korea and Cambodia.

The picket-protest was in coordination with a general strike in South Korea. The groups also presented a letter of concern addressed to the Korean ambassador Hyuk Lee.

“The peril to labor rights and conditions in any country is a disadvantage to workers everywhere in this globalized world,” asserted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and PM vice chair.

In a joint statement, the groups declared their outrage that a South Korean firm, Yakjin Cambodia Inc., called for the intervention of the armed forces of Cambodia that ended in the killing of four garment workers and the wounding of 23 others last January 2 and 3.

The Philippine workers also expressed their solidarity with the Korean workers fight against rail privatization and for labor rights. Even as the strike of the railway workers ended last December 31, the South Korean government has continued to pursue criminal charges against leaders of the Korean Railway Workers Union (KRWU) and civil damages against the union in the amount of over 7.7 billion won. The Philippine groups are also concerned about the threat of dismissal and disciplinary action against some 490 KRWU members.

Together with the police raid on the office of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) last December 22, Rivera averred that “These events constitute a clear and present danger to workers rights in the Republic of Korea.”

In their letter to the Korean ambassador, the groups insisted on the demand for the:
  1. withdrawal of criminal charges against KRWU leaders;
  2. withdrawal of damage suit against KRWU;
  3. stop to the dismissals and disciplinary actions against KRWU members;
  4. end to labor repression in the Republic of Korea; and
  5. end to rail privatization.

Rivera ended that “We serve notice to the Korean embassy that Philippine workers will be monitoring the developments in South Korea and will be ready to undertake solidarity actions in the Philippines in coordination with our brothers and sisters in Korea.”

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