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KGEU to Go on Strike from Today

Posted November. 14, 2004 23:19,   


The illegal Korean Government Employees’ Union (KGEU), which has called for the security of three labor rights such as a right for collective action, announced that it will go on a strike starting today at 9:00 a.m.

As a result, about 60 local government bodies whose employees will join the strike are expected to have a difficult time handling administrative operations in civil affairs.

Last Saturday, the KGEU ordered its members to gather in Seoul by November 14 to prepare for the strike and not to return to workplaces until the chairman gives the order to do so.

Accordingly, the members of the KGEU gathered in Seoul yesterday and held a rally in Sejong crossroads, Jongno-gu, Seoul. The rally was organized by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU).

The KGEU predicted, “Almost a total of 130,000 union members will join the strike and about 20,000 members will participate in the rally that take place in Seoul.” However, the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs said, “Out of a total of 176 branches of the KGEU, only 66 are expected to join the strike.”

In order to minimize inconvenience that common people might suffer from due to the strike, the KGEU decided to maintain rudimentary workforces such as those who are in charge of sanitation, health, and water supply and drainage. Therefore, the strike will have no immediate impact on citizen’s everyday life.

In response to the announcement of the strike, the government held a meeting with the participation of minister of Government Administration and Home Affairs, minister of Justice, and the Minister of Labor, in which they decided that “All members who participated in the strike will be liable for punishments including dismissal and criminal penalty.” In addition, he said, “By replacing positions that have become vacant due to the strike with new forces, we will preempt participants from resuming office.”

The Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs ordered local government bodies that, if workers are absent from their duties without notice today, the bodies can regard them as participants in the strike and take disciplinary measures against them. In addition, if employees apply for their annual leaves or to attend workshops, they are subject to punishment.

The police also announced that union members of local branches who hold rallies or try to stop their colleague from going to workplaces be immediately arrested.

Jong-Hoon Lee Ji-Won Jun taylor55@donga.com podragon@donga.com