Korean Union Leaders Jailed

Han Sang-Gyun, the head of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), reacts before surrendering voluntarily to the police at Jogye temple in Seoul, South Korea, December 10, 2015. REUTERS/News1

Han Sang-Gyun, the head of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU).

Harsh prison sentences for two Korean trade union leaders are the latest installment in the South Korean government’s ongoing war on trade unions, freedom of association, democratic protest and basic rights and civil liberties.

Han Sang-gyun, president of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on July 4th for taking part in strikes and protests last year against the government’s promotion of greater casual employment and support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

On July 28th  Cho Sung-deok, vice-president of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union (KPTU), received a two-year sentence for ‘criminal offenses’ in connection with the protests.

International trade union organizations, including the IUF and its affiliates, are mobilizing together with international human rights organizations against the criminalization of trade union activity in Korea as many more trade unionists are awaiting trial.

The president, general secretary and assistant general secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) attended Cho Sung-deok’s sentencing.

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