SPECIAL RESOLUTION of 2006 PSI APREC (draft)
We, the participants in the Public Services International (PSI) Asia-Pacific Regional Executive Committee (APREC) meeting in Sydney, Australia from 19-21 April, 2006, express our deep concern over the Korean Government's anachronistic repression on trade union rights of public sector workers in Korea, and its incapability and lack of a sense of responsibility.
We have been informed that, in spite of enforcement of 'the Act on Establishment and Operations etc. of Public Officials' Trade Unions', the repression by the Korean Government against the Korean Government Employees' Union (KGEU) has been far bitterer. Especially 'the Directives to Promote the Transformation of Illegal Organisations into Legal Trade Unions (Voluntary Withdrawal of Membership)' by the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs is openly denying existence of the KGEU and substantially trying to destroy the union. Government agencies and local governments are currently ordering government employees to withdraw from the union.
We respect KGEU's struggles for full guarantee of government employees' basic labour rights against 'public officials' trade union act', which, unlike its nominal acknowledgements, limits government employees' freedom of association and severely restricts government employees' union activities. The directives by the Korean Government are nothing but unfair labour practices and union-busting that denies freedom of association principles and oppresses government employees' independent union activities.
We also regrets Korean Government's repression on strike of Korean Railway Workers' Union (KRWU) affiliated to the Korean Federation of Transportation, Public & Social Service Workers' Union (KPSU). The KRWU launched a general strike for promoting railway service on March 1st. Yet, the Korean Government referred it to forced arbitration and branded it illegal again. The railway workers participated in the strike have been released from their position, and 3 union leaders including president KIM Young Hoon have been detained and 2 more of them have been wanted by the police. Ahead of this, the strikes of the Asiana Pilot Union and the Korean Airlines Flight Crew Union last year were prohibited by the Korean Government that issued an administrative order of 'emergency mediation'. The Government took an oppressive stance again at pilots' strikes in which unions' demands were above all passengers' safety as well as flight crew's. Indeed the right to strike stipulated in the constitution has been substantially prohibited and denied.
And we have been astounded at anti-human right violence and repression on union activities by the management of the Sejong Hospital, where the workers have been organised by the Korean Health and Medical Workers' Union (KHMWU), and deeply disappointed by the Korean Government's incapability and lack of a sense of responsibility. The management of the Sejong Hospital unilaterally cancelled the collective agreement and resorted to violence with mobilising union-busting scabbies employed. Several union members have been seriously wounded by the scabbies. However, the Government have never shown its will to settle and intervene in this violent repression on union activities, and taken an expectant attitude indifferent to this inhumane union-busting instead.
We note that the ILO, again, adopted recommendations to the Korean Government to ensure public sector workers' basic labour rights in accordance with international labour standards on March 29 2006. Once again, we request the Government to fully guarantee government employees' basic labour rights and to immediately stop any repression on the KGEU. And we urge the Government to limit any restrictions of the right to strike to essential services in the strict sense of the term, to minimise legal and administrative restrictions that substantially prohibit the right to strike of the public sector workers, and to immediately release detained railway workers' union leaders and to withdraw arrest warrants on other union leaders. Finally, we demand that the Government should play its role to settle and to take a necessary countermeasure at vehement repression on union activities and violence by the management of the Sejong Hospital.
April 21, 2006
Public Services International
Asia-Pacific Regional Executive Committee