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Two trade unions agree to launch joint struggle

Posted November. 24, 2000 19:55,   


The nation¡¯s two major federations of trade unions have agreed to launch an organization for their joint struggle, heralding their stepped-up ¡°winter struggle.¡±

Leaders of the conservative Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU) and the progressive Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) agreed to form a joint struggle committee in their first official meeting Friday after the members of the respective federations endorse the plan.

The two federations will seek to solve pending labor issues through the envisioned joint body. They will also make efforts to deter the government¡¯s unilateral restructuring and reduce work hours without the revision of the Labor Standard Law for the worse.

The projected joint struggle of the two organizations will be their first since they joined forces to fight the revision of labor-related laws in 1996, and the body will be the first of its kind.

The committee will be inaugurated with the approval of the members of the two federations Nov. 28 and the federations will seek ways to integrate their capabilities for a joint struggle.

Announcing the establishment of the joint committee, KCTU president Dan Byung-Ho and FKTU president Lee Nam-Soon said that the government would bring on a catastrophe if it condemns workers¡¯ just demands as stemming from their collective egoism.

In a joint announcement, they said that their federations will jointly cope with fresh labor issues to the greatest possible extent on the occasion of the solidarity struggle.

The two organizations decided to jointly hold rallies of unionized public sector workers Nov. 26 and 30 and to act in concert. They also decided to stage a strike at individual workplaces on Dec. 5 as a warning to the government.

However, the two groups differed over whether to make the prime goal of their struggle opposing restructuring or reducing work hours and agreed on the joint general strike only in principle, without fixing the date for the collective action. They decided to have the labor unions of each industry hold their rallies next week as scheduled.

Meanwhile, the labor union of the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) decided to shelve its first-ever strike plan until Nov. 29 with only three hours left until the start of the walkout at 5 a.m. Friday. The union accepted the government proposal for the extension of the adjustment period to Nov. 29.

Labor, management and government agreed to engage in sincere dialogue during the prolonged period to produce a correct plan for electricity industry restructuring. But the negotiations are expected to face obstacles over the strike plan being postponed to Nov. 30 as the government is determined to push through with restructuring in the public sector as scheduled.