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Unions Celebrate May Day With Protests

Posted May. 02, 2006 03:00,   


The Korea Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) and Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU) held various events and gatherings yesterday, marking the 116th Labor Day.

The KCTU hosted an event to commemorate World Labor Day, arguing for the abolition of the bill on irregular workers and a roadmap for advancing laws and systems on labor-management relations and free medical service and education, and against a Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. The event started at 3:00 p.m. in Seoul Plaza in front of Seoul City Hall with more than 10,000 people in attendance.

The KCTU announced in the event, “Neo-liberalism is threatening workers’ existences, and we should set up strong battle lines to fight against it.”

Prior to the gathering, each union held preliminary rallies in Cheonggye Plaza and Seoul Station Plaza in the morning.

For its part, the FKTU hosted a marathon commemorating the Labor Day jointly with Sohn Ki-jeong Foundation. The marathon started in Jamsil Stadium, Seoul at 10:00 a.m.

The sporting event, which marked the 60th anniversary of the FKTU’s establishment and the 70th anniversary of Sohn’s winning a gold medal in the marathon in the Berlin Olympics, attracted about 12,000 workers and citizens.

The two organizations also held events celebrating Labor Day in other major cities, including Incheon, Busan, Daegu and Gwangju.

Meanwhile, Labor Minister Lee Sang-soo said in an interview with a radio program on May 1, “If the passage of the bill on irregular workers is delayed, measures for (labor) reform will also be delayed.”

The bill was expected to pass the National Assembly in April, but its passage is being delayed due to conflicts between the ruling and the opposition parties over the amendment for the private schools law and the opposition from the Millennium Democratic Party.

Eun-Woo Lee libra@donga.com