News Release

South Koreans to Launch General Strike and Civil Disobedience for President’s Ouster

TIME magazine reported Monday: “Huge Numbers Demand the Ouster of South Korea’s President in a Fifth Week of Protests.” The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions recently announced a general strike, a major escalation of continuing strikes, for Wednesday, Nov. 30.

Today, the New York Times reports: “President Park Geun-hye of South Korea said Tuesday that she was willing to resign before her term ends, in an effort to head off a pending impeachment vote over a devastating corruption scandal.”

WOLSAN LIEM, kptu.intl[at]gmail.com
Director of international affairs, Korean Public Service and Transport Workers Union, Liem said today: “Over 300,000 workers, including metal, public service, transportation and construction workers, as well as teachers and government employees will strike on November 30.

“University students have also announced a nationwide walk-out in solidarity with the general strike. Small business owners will put up signs demanding the president’s resignation on their store windows; and farmers, street vendors and civic groups will also shut down work for the day and join solidarity protests planned in major cities across the country.

“Korea rail and other public institution workers have been on strike since September 27 protesting the president’s anti-labor policies, which seek to force a profit-model on the public sector and make it easier to fire workers in preparation for privatization. The president is implicated in a corruption scandal where her confidante Choi Soon-sil used her connection with the Blue House to win bribes from large corporations. In turn, the corporations got promises from the government to pursue such anti-worker measures, the goal of which is shore up corporate profits and weaken the power of labor unions.” Listen to her recent interview “Korean General Strike” on WorkWeek Radio.

HYUN LEE,  zoominkorea[at]gmail.com
Managing editor of ZoominKorea, Lee recently wrote the piece “South Korea’s Historic Protest to Oust Park Geun-hye,” which states: “It should be made clear to the foreign media that the outpouring of anger on the street is not just about the recent scandal involving the shaman cult leader who used her connection with the president to embezzle money. It has more to do with pent-up anger from four years of neo-authoritarian rule, including Park Geun-hye’s labor market reform; her dissolution of an opposition political party and jailing of labor leaders and opposition lawmakers; her refusal to allow a serious investigation into the Sewol Tragedy; her backdoor deal with Japan last year to silence the Korean victims of sexual slavery by the Japanese army during WWII. And the list goes on.”

On Park’s recent offer to resign, Lee said, “Park and her supporters are trying to avoid impeachment, draw things out in the national assembly through assertions that constitutional reform is required and use the time to regroup so that the conservative faction can maintain its power.

“It is yet another political trick.

“Unions and civil society groups are stating clearly that this announcement doesn’t meet the demands of the public, who want immediate resignation of Park and others who are responsible.”

Background: Tim Shorrock from In These Times: “Korean Workers Launch Major Wave of Strikes, Winning International Support.”