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2 Labor Groups Defy Ruling Against Election Campaigns

Koilaf Labor News, Vol. 2000001, no. 50, 27 January 2000

The nation’s two umbrella labor groups yesterday vowed to press ahead with a battle against corrupt and pro-business candidates in the April general election.

The move came in defiance of a ruling by the Central Election Management Commission (CEMC) that labor unions are banned from engaging in election campaigns ahead of the official 16-day period of March 28 to April 12.

The CEMC also ruled that unions of teachers and employees of government-run corporations should not participated in the process of electioneering for certain candidates.

The CEMC notified the labor federations of the decision, which puts a restriction on labor unions’ election campaigns.

Thus, labor unions of the railway and post office as well as teachers unions are not permitted to carry out election campaigns.

However, the commission made a ruling that labor unions can take part in campaigns for, or against specific candidates during the approved 16-day campaign period.

The two labor groups immediately issued statements, denouncing the CEMC for preventing them from participating in the election process.

We’ll push for our plan to campaign for, or against certain candidate in the April elections, despite the CEMC ruling, said the Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU).

It claimed that the ruling is null and void because it violates constitutional rights, specifically those that guarantee the participation of labor unions in election campaigns.

The FKTU, which boasts a membership of 1 million workers, threatened again to stage a boycott against corruption-tainted pro-business candidates in the polls.

The decision by the election commission is none other than an attempt to crack down on labor unions, said the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU).

The KCTU with a membership of 600,000 workers pledged to wage a battle against unqualified candidates, who were involved in bribery scandals, objected labor-related reform bills, and refused to introduce a five-day work week.

It is committed to form an alliance with civic groups and the other labor federation in order to step up struggles against those unqualified candidates in the elections.
(Korea Times )