Arial Protest of 3 Union Leaders in Ssangyong Motor


"Carry out a full parliamentary investigation into state affairs to bring to light the truth regarding the Ssangyong Motor falsification of accounts and mass dismissals!"


* * *


3 union leaders, HAN, Sang-gyun, MOON, Gi-joo, and BOK, Ki-seong are sitting in on top of a high electronic pylon. The company decided in 2009 to file for bankruptcy and filed a proposed reorganization plan, which was approved the following month.  


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On April 8, 2009, the company announced its plan to dismiss 2,646 workers. In May, workers went on strike to encourage negotiations over alternative, cost-cutting measures short of mass dismissals. On June 2, the company notified 1,056 workers of their dismissal effective June 8.  On June 26-7, riot police entered the factory and secured the main building following intense fighting that resulted in several injuries and arrests.  On July 1, all water was cut off and on July 16 all food was blocked from entering the plant. From July 20-27, thousands of riot police and hired thugs again attempted to take the factory. This time, the police moved in with water cannons and dropped concentrated tear gas and chemicals onto the strikers from helicopters, which caused in some cases severe chemical burns.  Several other workers sustained serious injuries at the hands of the police. 


In the end, the company brought lawsuits against individuals and union officers for obstruction of business, as well as a multimillion dollar lawsuit against the parent union - the Korean Metal Workers Union (KMWU) and the confederation, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. 


It now appears that the dismissals were completely illegal, based on false claims about the company’s economic situation. It is an outrage to discover the mass dismissals may have been illegal in the first place. Ssangyong Motor appears to have doctored its accounts to inflate its debt ratio of 187% into 561%.The company’s claims of urgent business exigencies to justify mass dismissal of 2,646 workers were apparently based on dishonest claims, if not business fraud. 





Three years later, none of the dismissed workers have been reinstated. The Ssangyong Motor workers and their families affected by the mass dismissals suffer extreme financial duress, provisional seizure of workers’ homes and bank accounts to pay the employer and its insurance company for strike “damages,” and blacklisting from future employment. This has led to a series of 23 deaths by suicide and sudden malady. 



The responsibility of the government is clear and the need for a resolution urgent. During the presidential election campaign, Park, Geun-hye, the president elect made a commitment to a parliamentary investigation with regard to the Ssangyong case, but to date there has been no action. KCTU


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