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TUC General Secretary writes to Korean Ambassador to protest against raid and arrest of KPTU unionists

Issue date

HE Mr Sungnam Lim

Embassy of the Republic of Korea
60 Buckingham Gate

date: 20 November 2015

Dear Ambassador

Raid on the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union (KPTU)

On behalf of the British Trades Union Congress (TUC) and almost 6 million members of our affiliated unions and British workers, I urge you to convey our protest over the police raid on the headquarter office of KPTU and the subsequent arrest of their members to your Government.

We understand that on 6 November a raid was carried out in relation to an investigation of the KPTU-TruckSol Pulmuone Chapter’s high altitude protest and the police attempted to search not only the office of TruckSol but the entire KPTU building, confiscating union documents and computers.

We are concerned that this raid was intended to punish KPTU for supporting drivers from the Pulmuone company, who have been striking since 4 September calling for union recognition and safety and decent conditions of its supply chain, with the strike part of a broader struggle by KPTUTruckSol for safe standard rates and client responsibility.

Seven members of KPTU were subsequently arrested on 11 November for obstructing government administration.

The right to freedom of association and collective bargaining are core conventions of the ILO which the Republic of Korea is bound as a member of the ILO to uphold and affirmed it would commit to and effectively implement as part of its signing of the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement in 2010.

Since this agreement was signed, however, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and international labour community have repeatedly censured the Korean government for its violations of civil and fundamental labour rights and we support the call that such acts should not be tolerated.

We call on the Korean government and police to stop repression against KPTU- TruckSol Pulmuone drivers and the whole KPTU, including cancelling arrest warrants and release arrested workers; facilitate negotiation between Pulmuone and KPTU-TruckSol and a just settlement to the dispute, and apologise for the unjustified and excessive attempted raid on the KPTU office.

I look forward to receiving confirmation from you that our concerns have been conveyed to your government.

Yours sincerely,

Frances O' Grady


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