Sunday, November 07, 2010

Beginning November 11 South Korea will play host to the latest meeting of the G20. Being as that is Remembrance Day here in Canada let's not forget what happened in Toronto during the last meeting of the G20. International unions are calling for a different sort of response from the Korean government ie that they act to respect rights rather than trample them down. Here's the story from the AFL-CIO Blog.

On Eve of G-20 Summit, Global Unions Call On Korea to Honor Workers’ Rights
by James Parks, Nov 4, 2010

When the leaders of the world’s top 20 economies, also known as the G-20, meet Nov. 11–12 in Seoul, Korea, the global union movement will shine a light on the Korean government’s repeated violations of workers’ rights.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka today joined the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in calling on the Korean government to honor its international commitments and respect workers’ rights. In a letter to Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak, Trumka said:

Repeatedly workers and trade unions in Korea are subject to violations of human and trade union rights. The number of arrests and severity of prison sentences as well as physical violence is increasing.

The AFL-CIO calls on the Korean government to honor your international commitments and respect workers’ rights.

In the week leading up to the summit, workers around the world are taking actions at their workplaces, in rallies and in cyberspace to convince Korean leaders to treat workers with respect and dignity. They also will visit Korean embassies and express solidarity with Korean workers.

When Korea joined the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 1996, it made a commitment to reform its labor laws and meet international standards on workers’ rights. OECD is a global coalition of governments to coordinate worldwide economic development. Now, 14 years later, Korea’s laws still do not comply with international standards on protecting workers’ rights and Korea is one of the worst countries in the world for the repression of its workers and trade unions..

Specifically, the ITUC claims the Korean government “repeatedly and systematically violates workers’ rights by:

•Using criminal sanctions against “obstruction of business” to arrest union leaders and deny workers the freedom to join a union.
•Restricting union rights for workers in dangerous employment situations or workers who are employed by subcontractors.
•Restricting union rights for public sector workers.

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