At least 50,000 workers rallied in south Korea's capital city of Seoul Nov. 10 to demand the repeal of harsh anti-labor laws. The rally was organized by the outlawed Korean Confederation of Trade Unions.
The current labor code in south Korea bars more than one union in a work place. Bosses use it to keep out militant unions by recognizing pro-company unions. Laws also prohibit "third-party" intervention in negotiations, and bar civil servants and teachers from union membership completely. Labor leaders are routinely jailed for strikes and organizing.
"I solemnly declare in the name of our 500,000 members that we will stage an all-out struggle, including a total strike," if the labor code is not scrapped, said Kwon Young- kil, president of the KCTU. Kwon spent time in prison this year for his labor activities.
International unions like the International Metalworkers' Federation are waging a campaign to bar south Korea's bid to join the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development until it revises its labor code.
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