Solidarity message from Phillip Jennings General Secretary of UNI Global unions to the Korean Health and Medical Workers’ Union(KHMU)
Dear Sister Yoo Ji Hyun
This letter is written by UNI Global Union in strong support of your hunger strike and in solidarity with the actions of your members throughout June, July and beyond, to expose and oppose the increasing commercialization of health and medical service in Korea. As you know, UNI Global Union represents 20 million workers, through our 900 affiliate unions, and we represent workers in the private care and social insurance through our UNICARE sector. UNI Global stands alongside KHMU members and leaders as you take on your government’s further deregulation and erosion of Korea’s healthcare system.
We stand with the KHMU in rejecting the proposed changes to the Medical Services Act, and we support your position that the current Act should ne maintained. We know from the combating will do noting improve health and safety of patient. These changes will in fact promote and expand what is a destructive system where patient health is not of primary concern, where employees are low paid, and where there is a fundamental lack of respect and recognition for both patients and staff.
Given the recent disasters which have sadly impacted on many Koreans such as the Sewol Ferry disaster and the jangsung HyoSarang Elderly Care Center fire, now is not the time to undermine the wellbeing of Korea’s people by giving rise to a system which will ultimately enhance the perverse drivers that for-profit healthcare system create. It is time to put the Korean peoples first, not corporations. It is time for proper, reliable regulation of the health care sector, for a focus on accessible and quality health for all.
Through your staunch and decisive action you are defending the rights and wellbeing of ordinary Korean people who will face not only increased cost, but will face suffering and hardship through this generation ad generation to come as a result or the proposed changes.
We extend our support and solidarity to you, and to your members in your upcoming strike action on June 24, and for the actions planned in June, July and beyond, including the July general strike. We send greetings, and wishes that your heroic efforts and personal sacrifices will make their mark on history. Additionally, we have written to the Minister of health to urge the Minister, and the Korean Government, to take steps immediately stop the proposed changes from occurring to the health system, and strongly stating our fervent support for the KHMU’s actions.