[14 Jul, 2006] KHMWU workers join Anti-FTA rally

by khmu posted May 20, 2008


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The Second round of negotiation for the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement has been made from 10 to 14 July in Seoul. The severe debates over the Korea-US FTA have been exchanged between supporters (government, big business and conservative intellectuals) and opposition group (trade unions, farmers and social movement organizations).

The trade unions - the largest opposition force against the FTA - have insisted that the Korea-US FTA would worsen a social polarization, widen the wealth gap and divide the people into rich and poor. The government - the most passionate driving force for the FTA has said that the implementation of FTA would upgrade the Korean economy and lead our society to one of the most advanced country.

In order to break down the current FTA negotiation with US and raise the people's voice on it, trade unions and farmer organizations organized a rally in Seoul on 12 July, where 30,000 workers and farmers and students participated. This day, KCTU staged a one-day strike and organized, at the same time, a worker's rally against the FTA. As 25,000 workers joined this rally, 1,000 workers out of them were KHMWU members.

In the rally, KCTU workers including KHMWU members demanded the government to abandon the ongoing negotiation for the FTA, to guarantee fundamental labor rights for irregular workers including so-called "disguised self-employees", and to democratically revise the labor relations laws, being debated between the government and business and labor.

On the other hand, two US national centers AFL-CIO and Change to Win Federation have sent their delegation here to monitor the negotiation process and discuss the common response of two countries' trade unions to the FTA issue. 6 union officers (5 from AFL-CIO and 1 from CTW) came to Korea and joined the rally organized by the Korean trade unions, especially Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU).

The next meeting for the FTA negotiation will be held September in Seatle, USA. It is reported that the four national centers AFL-CIO and CTW from US and KCTU and FKTU from Korea will jointly organize a rally against the current FTA negotiation in Seatle, USA.


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