From: ITUC Press
Sent: 28 June 2007 10:33
To: EN ITUC OnLine

Subject: ITUC OnLine: ITUC and TUAC express opposition to current Korea-United States free trade agreement


ITUC OnLine...

ITUC and TUAC express opposition to current Korea-United States free trade agreement

Brussels, 28 June 2007 (ITUC OnLine): On the occasion of the finalisation of preparations for signing a free trade agreement between South Korea and the U.S. on June 30, known as the KORUS-FTA, the ITUC together with the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the OECD have joined their affiliates in Korea and the US in expressing their opposition to the agreement as it currently stands.

The impending signature of the KORUS-FTA has brought about a strike this week by the Korean Metal Workers' Union (KMWU), protesting against the agreement as part of a broad coalition of Korean groups in opposition to the KORUS-FTA. Last year, both affiliates in Korea of the ITUC and TUAC, the FKTU and the KCTU, joined the AFL-CIO in the US in expressing their deep concern at the course of the KORUS negotiations.

Although the government has threatened to declare this strike of the KMWU illegal, the latest report on Korea by the Committee on Freedom of Association of the ILO remained highly critical of the government of Korea for its continued repression of trade union rights. The Committee emphasized the Government's failure to fulfil the commitment it had made to ratify Conventions 87 and 98 of the ILO when an ILO high-level tripartite mission visited Korea and reported to the Governing Body in 1998.

The ITUC considers that trade agreements should lead to the creation of decent jobs and development and provide for the protection of core labour standards. Yet the provisions for protection of such standards in the KORUS-FTA remain far too limited to be readily put into operation. While the agreement is reported to include a possible provision for fines in cases of violation of core labour standards, the maximum penalties stand to be much lower than those applicable in cases of commercial breaches of the agreement, and so risk being ineffective.

Furthermore, in negotiating this agreement, neither government has evaluated the likely economic and social impact the deal will have on workers. Yet it is likely, as has been highlighted by the International Metalworkers' Federation to which the KMWU is affiliated, that if signed this free trade agreement will lead to an acceleration of capital mobility and financial speculation between Korea and the US, contributing to further restructuring and driving down of wages, employment stability and working conditions.

The ITUC and TUAC are calling therefore for:

* Postponement of the agreement until it has been redesigned so as to promote decent work and respect for core labour standards;

* a full and public assessment of the economic and social impact of the FTA on workers in both countries;

* safeguards for public services, workers' rights, the environment and economic development;

* Implementation in both the US and Korea of the ILO's core labour standards and of the recommendations of the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association to the governments of both countries.

Founded on 1 November 2006, the ITUC represents 168 million workers in 153 countries and territories and has 304 national affiliates.

For more information, please contact the ITUC Press Department on +32 2 224 0204 or +32 476 621 018.
Total 19
No. Subject Name Regdate Hits
19 [KoPA] WTO Strategy Paper from Korean Movements [12] KCTU 2003.08.14 282305
18 Down with the US-South Korea FTA and neoliberal globalization! [5] KCTU 2006.07.13 259731
17 FKTU paper on the KORUS FTA [7] KCTU 2006.08.02 259123
16 [Report of Minbyun] Situation of Civil and Political Rights in Republic of Korea [5] KCTU 2006.10.23 264918
15 [Statement] Stop KORUS FTA Right Now! [5] KoA 2006.10.24 267629
14 The Real Understanding of the KORUS FTA [67] KoA 2006.10.25 257769
13 PSSP Statement on North Korea's Nuclear Test [5] PSSP 2006.11.10 256341
12 Joint Statement on Shwe Gas Development Project in Burma [7] KCTU 2006.11.18 263769
11 [Reuters] South Korea braces for major strike on Wednesday [6] KCTU 2006.11.22 266842
10 (AFP) South Korean protesters plan day of strikes, street rallies [6] KCTU 2006.11.22 252678
9 KCPT Statement On the Erection of Barbed Wire from November 9, 2006 [7] KCPT 2006.11.27 264207
8 No to UN Security Council Sanctions against North Korea [6] KCTU 2006.11.27 258796
7 The Road to an Undesirable Deal - Understanding the Kor-US FTA [8] KCTU 2007.02.22 271262
» ITUC Press : ITUC and TUAC express opposition to current Korea-United States free trade agreement [5] KCTU 2008.08.02 254853
4 ITUC Online : Korea : Anti-union repression continue [7] KCTU 2008.08.02 268724
3 AFL-CIO letter on KGEU [9] KCTU 2008.08.02 263742
2 NGO Statement on the case of Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction in Philippines [7] KCTU 2009.03.05 266868
1 Report for the WTO General Council review of the Trade policies of Republic of Korea (Geneva, 19 and 21 September, 2012) [92] KCTU 2013.02.15 281602
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