The Union Of Korean Trade Unions

2025 Words Dec 10th, 2014 9 Pages
Gregory Baumanna

Overview: In December 1996 and January 1997, there was a massive four week nationwide strike in South Korea in protest against newly passed labor laws which gave employers more power to lay off employees, made it easier to hire temporary/strike replacing workers and put off allowing multiple unions to be formed at a given enterprise. This resulted in the mobilized three million workers, which shut down auto/ship production, disrupted hospitals, subways and television. The two main unions involved were the The Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU) and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (FCTU). This strike was notable due to its consistently high levels of worker participation and high level of public support. Two months after the end of the strike, the government passed very similar laws with only small concessions, making the strikes enormously successful in mobilization but only marginally successful in terms of actual results (229)
Background: From 1985 to 1996 South Korea experienced a series of strikes that resulted in a clash of old laws and governmental frameworks that were incompatible with modern working practices. South Korea was able to weather these strikes and the lost revenue accocieated with them because of the “Three Lows” low interest rates, the lower value of the dollar against the yen and low oil prices. After these lows dissipated South Korea felt that it could no longer afford continued…

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