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Korean Workers Launch Major Wave of Strikes, Winning International Support

Korean workers have embarked on a major wave of strikes “to protest against government ‘reform proposals that would make it easier for employers to fire workers, weaken seniority protections won through collective bargaining and privatise some state-owned industries.” Tim Shorrock reports in In These Times that “the ITF and Public Services International (PSI), the global federation of public sector workers, have asked the International Labor Organization (ILO) to intervene to ensure that the Park government respects the rights of workers in South Korea to freedom of association. The strikes in South Korea, the ITF’s Cotton said in an email, ‘have been triggered by the government ignoring its own laws by imposing drastic new labour practices in the public sector. It is no secret that this is a precursor to the introduction of widespread privatisation.’ Yet, despite labour’s objections, ‘every attempt by the unions to seek talks with the government has been rejected.’”