KHMU holds its 12th National Congress
The 12th KHMU National Congress was held on 27 February, in which two hundred delegates concluded the 2009 program. In the program KHMU proposed three goals for 2009 activities: struggle to present hope and alternative to the people and health workers; mass struggle in which every member join together; creation of unity and model of industrial unionism through activity based on ‘workplace, communication and human’.
Also, the union set up the nine practical tasks for 2009 activities: securing of hospital staffing as part of job creating in a society; strengthening of the National Health Insurance and transforming of healthcare system towards “Health for All”; fighting back against unilateral restructuring and strengthening of industrial CBA; struggle of payment for full-time union officers; abolishing of the “essential maintenance service” violating basic labor rights; strengthening of KHMU industrial unionism; educating and training of KHMU activists; organizing of the unorganized and irregular workers; establishing of long-term strategy for organizational development.
On the same day the Korean Federation of Hospital Unions (KFHU) was officially dissolved. The KFHU was established in 1988 with 100 hospital unions and transformed into the Korean Health & Medical Workers’ Union (KHMU) in 1998. Since the establishment of KHMU, the KFHU had existed as a nominal umbrella organization covering KHMU, because several hospital in-house unions neither dissolved themselves nor join the industrial union of KHMU.
As the remaining in-house unions under KFHU joined the KHMU by dissolving themselves in 2008, the KFHU historically declared its disorganization and disappeared in the Korean labor movement history. Since 1998, the KHMU leadership had taken the KFHU leadership simultaneously.
Cooperation with North Korean workers
In addition, KHMU vice-president, Han Yong-mun visited Pyongyang North Korea as part of working-level visit of South Korean unionists to North Korean trade unions in 4 and 7 February. In this visit, trade unionists of two Koreas discussed the cooperation and exchange program of working class between South Korea and North Korea. Also, Vice-president Han visited the Pyongyang Friendship Hospital to meet North Korean hospital workers. It is noted that KHMU donated an ultrasound medical equipment to North Korea on 8 January 2009. North Korean authority said to Han that the medical equipment was finally installed at the People’s Hospital in Hamheung city, several kilometers northeast away of Pyongyang.
* Photo: Working-level group of South Korean unionists visits the Pyongyang Friendship Hospital. KHMU vice-president, Han Yong-mun is the fifth from the right in the first line.