Thursday, August 06, 2009


IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations
-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
Cornell University
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor
---------------------- Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016
-------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU)

KCTU Statement : Violent Suppression of Ssangyong Motors Workers: A Declaration of War on Its Own People [6 August 2009]

5th, August

In the morning of August 5th, the police started its raid to forcefully break the strike at Ssangyong Motors Pyeongtaek Plant, literally turning the factory into a war zone. The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) strongly condemns the insane police raid that can bring deaths, and demands the immediate withdrawal of police forces. The police operation is taking place in collaboration with company goons, without any consideration for human lives or safety measures.

Containers hanging from cranes, water cannons, teargas concentrate, taser guns, to name a few, have been mobilized, and during the process of the raid, two workers fell from the roof of the assembly line building and were seriously injured. One of the workers broke his 3rd and 4th vertebrae. 23 workers were arrested and 7 of them are undergoing treatment in the hospital for various injuries.

The police beat workers collectively, even those who had given up resisting, before arresting them. Workers who were in dire need of medical treatment were neglected for more than an hour. Fires broke out in several places nearby the paintshop building, which houses a large amount of inflammable chemicals and is thus extremely dangerous, however, the police were too busy beating the workers to quickly put out the soaring flames. The police have turned into a private militia that follows orders of the management and its puppet goons, and tramples upon human lives.

The company goons, armed with metal pipes, wooden sticks, huge slingshots, molotov cocktails and other lethal weapons, showed no remorse when violently beating down on people in and outside the factory. The encampment tents set up in front of the factory by civil society activists, political parties and religious groups were completely demolished by the metal pipes swung relentlessly by these goons. Many of these goons were smirking in the process ­ enough to sense murderous intentions. As previously experience, the police merely stood aside and watched the criminal acts of these goons.

The police raid is in complete contradiction to the earnest yearning of Ssangyong workers, their family members, labour/human rights/religious/civic organization members for a peaceful solution to the Ssangyong crisis. Unions and civic organizations have repetitiously warned that if police raids into the paintshop 2 building, where the striking workers have locked themselves in together with tons of inflammable material, there can be a catastrophe incomparable to the Yongsan Massacre, during which 5 evictees were burnt to death.

The KCTU considers the forced suppression of Ssangyong Motors workers as a declaration of war by the government on its own people including the working class. We sternly announce that we will implement even stronger, full-fledged struggles against the Lee Myung Bak government. President Lee Myung Bak, who seems to have given up his role as a head of state, should realize that the pain, anger and sadness that Ssangyong Motors workers felt today will be avenged on him.

5th August 2009

Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU)

see Also
Photos on the Brutal Attack of Riot Police against Ssangyong Workers on the 5th August [6 August 2009]

Union Members' Lives are at Stake! [5 August 2009]

Stop Brutal Raid against the Ssangyong Motor Workers!
Our Union Members' Lives are at Stake!
Please see video :
For full text, please open the attached document - Ssangyong_August_5_Update.doc

Yesterday, the company goons ripped apart the shelters of solidarity supporters encamped outside the plant and arrested KMWU Vice President WOO, Byeong-kuk at the scene. When the news of the all-out raid spread, a swell of workers and students kept streaming to Pyeongtaek and spontaneous rallies began with first 100, then 200, then 600-700 . Right now supporters are peacefully marching to the plant and some two dozen are being arrested with police firing water cannons on the march.

Currently, we have hundreds of injured sit-in workers with some extremely serious injuries such as spinal cord injury (from falling off roof of building when SWAT team began chasing the workers on the roof), from rubber bullets, taser gun shocks, and a fire broke out in the buildling next to the paintshop building. An all-out raid on a paintshop with hundreds of thousands of liters of flammable chemicals is incredibly risky and an excessively violent way to end the dispute ; it is deliberately putting the lives of our union members at risk

Please call on the Korean government

; to call off this extraordinarily dangerous raid!

; to participate in negotiations over alternatives to dismissal and a future for the plant .

Our union members' lives are at stake.

- Any international solidarity actions should be taken in front of the Korean Embassy now (no more Ssangyong dealerships)
- Any diplomatic pressure on the South korean government to stop this extraordinarily dangerous raid, to stop denying the sit-in strikers food, water, proper medical attention, electricity (they are treating each others wounds by candlelight) etc would be appreciated
- Please send us photos of your action so we can let the workers inside the plant know

in solidarity,

Korean Metal Workers' Union(KMWU)
Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU)
This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

Stuart Basefsky                   
Director, IWS News Bureau                
Institute for Workplace Studies 
Cornell/ILR School                        
16 E. 34th Street, 4th Floor             
New York, NY 10016                        
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