The KHMU launches a political campaign calling for President Park Geun-hye to step-down and for the entire cabinet to resign.
Declaration of State Affairs, Protest, Candlelight Demonstration, November 12 General Rally
◯ The Korean Heath and Medical Workers’ Union (KHMU, President Yoo Ji-hyun) announced a declaration of state affairs and the union’s plan demanding President Park to step-down.
◯ Under the plan, every city chapter of the national union will hang a placard reading: “Park Guen-hye Out”; train and educate union members; and join in the declaration of state affairs with candlelight demonstrations and associated rallies.
◯ The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU), which the KHMU belongs to as an affiliate, launched an all-night protest at Cheonggye Square, Seoul on November 1, together with civil society. On November 2, representatives of local unions attended the massive demonstration called a “Rally for Emergency State Affairs.”
◯ Over the past two weeks, the scandal of Choi Soon-sil, a confidant of President Park, has rocked Korea. Choi and her intimates, with no official government positions, are charged with corruption, fraud, and undue influence and control over major national policies. Korean people reacted to this news with the President’s approval rate of 40% plummeting to a 5% level. Candlelight demonstrations continue to take place and various sectors of society continually announced declarations of state affairs. A massive rally will take place on November 12, with an expected 400,000 participants including workers, farmers, and general citizens.
<Summary of Declaration of State Affairs by KHMU>
◯ We sigh with shame that “we are Koreans.” Choi Soon-sil and her intimates misused national power to perpetuate fraud and corruption for private gain. They have bled workers for their own greed in collusion with Chaebols (family owned groups of large companies), while Choi has exploited other people for her daughter. This revelation of one single woman’s preposterous deed can never repress the public’s astonishment.
◯ Choi Soon-sil, with no official government position, has had excessive control over major national policies and projects ranging from government-run culture and sports businesses, and South-North relations to foreign affairs. Further, she has peddled influence over the appointment of key positions within government organizations and agencies and even edited the President’s speeches. Even graver, this seems not to be the end of the story. Recently, each and every day increases our knowledge of Choi’s wicked deeds, including ridiculous political decisions made for her own private interests, her manipulations of governmental policies, and the willful destruction of the constitution and democracy. The list goes on and on.
◯ Choi’s family and Ms. Park have been in a special relationship for over 40 years. In this regard, this scandal should rightfully be called “Park Geun-hye Gate,” rather than “Choi Soon-sil Gate,” the media’s label for it these days. The secret powers behind Park, the staff of the Blue House, the ruling Saenuri Party, the Pro-Park faction and its ilk all deserve punishment. But the main culprit here is, after all, the President herself. Therefore, President must take complete responsibility for this scandal.
◯ The current administration has pushed quite hard to change labor-law in a way to increase labor flexibility, saying that the change is to reduce youth unemployment. But the true reason has been revealed: the anti-labor change in the law gave preference to Chaebols in return for its donation worth 80 billion to Choi’s Mir Foundation and K Sports.
“Park Guen-hye Out”
◯ Korea’s Chaebols have yearned for a performance-based wage system and a low-performer layoff policy for so long, even though such policies destroy the public nature of medical services. In 2014, the business leaders (members of the Federation of Korean Industries) and economic organizations proposed the Presidential Committee on Regulation Innovation, a policy that allows them to change employment and layoff rules without the consent of workers. Revelations from the recent scandal suggest that the Park government induced the flexible labor policy to create greater profits, after receiving money from the Chaebols.
◯ The government has never altered its plan for health sector privatization despite 80% public opposition. No doubt, this plan affords greater preferences to Chaebols, too.
◯ Therefore, the KHMU calls for the resignation of President Park and her entire cabinet, as it is the only way to eliminate any possible manipulation of national policies by corrupt, evil forces.
◯ Korea needs to “renovate the nation” by punishing the de facto powers who have peddled influence over policy-making. If the President, Choi’s accomplices, and those who have controlled the police and prosecutors still remain in current positions, even fact-finding will be impossible, not to mention a national renovation.
◯ For this reason, the KHMU urges the President to admit her fault and step down immediately. We also call for the cabinet’s resignation for its neglect of the situation so far. The KHMU will support to the declaration of state affairs, the protests, and the strikes to demand that President Park step down immediately.
A massive rally will take place on November 5, with 300,000 national wide participants including workers, farmers, and general citizens