[Photo] A member of KOSCOM Irregular Workers Union who was injured by the violence of riot police is explaining the situation while the riot police attacking the sit of sit-in demonstration at the Press Conference

[KCTU Statement] Is violence the Lee Myung-bak government's solution to the irregular workers' issue?  
- Lee Myung-bak Government attacking the KOSCOM Irregular Workers by riot police

                                                                                                        March 12, 2008

Just three weeks after inauguration(on the 11th), the Lee Myung-bak government has forcefully cleared away the site of the sit-down strike by KOSCOM Irregular Workers' Branch, affiliated to the Korea Stock Industry Workers' Union, KCTU  with the police and hired men perpetrating violence on the striking workers. 6 union members were hurt and hospitalised.  

KOSCOM is a subsidiary company of Korea Stock Futures Exchange and the striking irregular workers have worked as computer engineers for around 20 years.  They have striked for collective bargaining with main contractor, KOSCOM in a good faith and transferring into the status of rugular workers since September, 2007. It should be pointed out that investigation by the Ministry of Labor revealed the unfair practices of 'disguised outsourcing' and 'illegal dispatch' by the KOSCOM, and also the court made a decision that the KOSCOM as a main contractor. should engage in collective bargaining with irregular workers. Against these just demands of workers and basic labour right to collective action, the Lee government used the police force instead of making efforts to solve the irregular workers' issue.  

The Lee government, which had stated that it would work to alleviate social polarization, has proven that violent oppression is its solution to it by crushing the resistance of the irregular workers: the group that has been the most severely hit by the polarization. A president that has installed direct hot-lines with corporations has shown no signs of engaging in dialogue with the workers. We cannot but question whether he has the qualifications to talk about solving social polarization and improving industrial relations.  

As a candidate, the current president canceled his visit to the Korea Stock Exchange because of the sit-in demonstrations by the irregular workers in front of it. When visiting the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, he paid no attention to the picketing irregular workers outside, who had been out in the streets for over 100 days. He even had these workers confined for during his inauguration ceremony. The reason that the government gave for the forced clearance of the sit-in was the rule of law. However, a rule of law that has strayed away from the principle of social justice is only the means for dictatorship. The government has failed to understand just how the rights of irregular workers have been trampled upon, how they have been discriminated against, and what has driven to resist through their demonstrations. For this government, KOSCOM CEO Lee Jong-kyu's perjury during the National Assembly's hearings and inspections were also not subject to the rule of law.  

The police has acted as private guards for the  KOSCOM  capital, guarding the headquarters of the company and controlling who goes in. They have overstepped their mandate several times, even blocking bargaining committee members that had been granted the right to enter the building by the courts. Their violence has also prompted the National Human Rights Commission to recommend education regarding their mandate and authority, but state power has not stood on the side of the weak.  

We strongly warn the police. Stop the violent oppression of the workers' struggles. The one that has broken the law is the  KOSCOM  management, which has exploited its irregular workers by illegally switching subcontracting firms several dozen times during the last 10 or so years.

With the attack on the Koscom irregular workers, the Lee Myung-bak government has clearly shown that the business-friendly, capital-friendly country that he has so often talked about is only to be achieved through brute force and the oppression of workers. The "period of success" that he has set out as his vision does not include success for irregular workers and the people, but only applies for the few, the privileged. The 800,000 members of the KCTU will not stand by if the government is to again take action again that lead to the blood and tears of workers. It is still not too late for the government to apologize for the use of force and seek out those responsible for the violence perpetrated at the sit-in site. We again urge the government to come up with measures for the irregular workers through a dialogue with them.  
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