A Union Leader Took His Life Facing Union Busting and a Huge Amount of Compensation of Damage

"Hanjin Heavy Industry, withdraw their lawsuit against the union’s leader and reinstate the dismissed workers!"

* * *

On December 21, 2012, 2 days after the presidential election, CHOE, Kang-seo, and the deputy organising director of KMWU Busan Regional Branch Hanjin Local, to take his life. Choe had struggled valiantly with his fellow workers against Hanjin's plans for mass dismissal, finally winning reinstatement last year. After Hanjin workers returned to work on November 9, however, the company began sending them back out on unpaid leave, and persisted with a lawsuit claiming 15.8 billion won in damages from workers who had participated in the struggle. On the morning of December 21, Choe declined to take part in the morning outreach that was usually part of his daily routine. Instead, he hung himself in the union office, leaving a note denouncing Hanjin's repression and lamenting, "Nothing will be possible for the next five years." A father of two young sons, he was 35 years old. 


In 2010 Hanjin workers struck to protest precarious employment and the layoff of over 400 workers.  At the end of strike, and an 11 month crane sit-in of Kim, Jinsook, the company agreed on the reinstatement of dismissed workers and to compensation.  Each side agreed to drop lawsuits against each other. However, Hanjin continued to sue the chair of the KMWU for damages related to the strike in the amount of $15.8 million $100,000 against KCTU leaders. Even worse, the company established a management dominated “yellow” union and sought to lure the members of the KMWU. This situation drove Choe to take his life. 

His Family members and colleagues has been asking for a sincere apology by the company and withdrawal of the lawsuit.  However, the company has been rejecting any talk with the family members and the union so far.without any apology and even any dialogue, his coffin is still lying on the cold street. A public memorial alter  has been set up in the center of Seoul. Hanjin union members launched an intensive campaign to ask for an urgent intervention of the president elect Park, Guen-hye. KCTU

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