Posted August. 05, 2009 07:33,
Police yesterday stormed the paint shop at Ssangyong Motors plant in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, which striking workers have occupied for 75 days.
Police took over the second car assembly plant linked to the second paint shop where union workers staged a sit-in protest. Unionists retaliated by shooting bolts and throwing bricks and firebombs, injuring both police and employees.
Four thousand police commandos comprising 40 companies, 500 employees and fire authorities took part in the operation.
Police deployed forces stationed at the front and back gates to the second paint shop at 4 a.m. They poured tear gas into the rooftop of the first and second paint shops occupied by unionists with three helicopters at 9:30 a.m. An hour later, some 300 officers stormed the second assembly plant from the ground and 80 commandos entered it using tower ladders.
Police confronted union workers for an hour and secured the second assembly plant at 11:30 a.m.
The roof of the second assembly plant is connected to the welfare building and the second paint shop. Police tried to enter the second plant but were met by union workers.
Police also occupied the first assembly plant and also attempted to enter the first paint shop, the development line for the new Ssangyong model C200, and the third and fourth assembly lines by using tower ladders. The workers used firebombs, iron pipes and illegal guns to fight back.
Some 20 people on both sides were injured in the confrontation. The union caught a safeguard hired by management. The confrontation calmed down as police stopped their raid around 3 p.m.
The Labor Ministry is considering designating Pyeongtaek an area for promoting employment and development this month. Once the city receives the designation, the government will provide 90 percent of wages for large companies with more than 300 employees (and 100 percent for small and medium-size companies) if they continue to retain employees by offering paid holidays or a long vacation.