We have had a request for solidarity with a strike by South Korean university cleaners.
Could comrades please sign and circulate the petition below (partic to NTEU and union members contacts perhaps) and ask that signatures be sent to the
email address listed (contactcjpark). I am happy to draft a solidarity statement to send to All Together and the strikers.
An ex member, Clive Tillman (who is presently in South Korea) wrote to David, with some background to the dispute:
Clive Tillman 23 January at 20:43
I am just writing because I would like to ask if you can help me out with a campaign I am organising here in South Korea.
The cleaners at Hongik University (one of Korea’s top universities) have all been sacked after forming a union and fighting to get the minimum wage.
There has been a bitter 20+ day struggle and the workers have occupied a campus building and are sleeping in the cold.
I am working with the local socialist group All Together– they are affiliated with the International Socialist and are from the Tony Cliff
tradition- to get as much international support for the workers as possible.
Could you get Solidarity to write up an official support statement? I can then have it translated into Korean and passed onto the workers. It would
do a lot to lift their spirits if they know the international community is on their side.
I have written an account of the struggle for Links journal, you can read it here: http://links.org.au/node/2099
Petition written up by the Korean socialist group All Together:
Urgent Appeal for Solidarity with Hong Ik University Custodial Workers
In the beginning of the year, Hong Ik University, a private university in Seoul, terminated the employment of its 170 custodial and security workers
who are mostly in their 50s and 60s for forming a labor union. Upon receiving the notices of dismissal the workers marched into the university
president’s office and began the occupation demanding their jobs back and wage increase on January 3, 2011.
Custodial workers at Hong Ik University works 10 hours a day starting from 6 in the morning to clean and maintain the campus for a monthly wage of only 750,000 won (approximately $700). This is less than the legal minimum wage and the wages of unionized custodial workers at other universities.
What is worse is the daily meal stipend given to the workers is mere 300 won (less than 30 cents). Moreover, their employment gets extremely
precarious whenever the cleaning company, the subcontractor, is changed.
The workers’ fight against such ridiculously unjust treatment is heroic.
Their struggle is supported not only by students and faculty members of the university but also by the general public. The struggle became a symbol of
the struggles against low wage and poor working conditions. It is galvanizing support from radicalized young people and students who want to
fight back against the increasing discrimination and inequality.
Currently, the school administration is showing no sign of retreat even after 2 weeks of occupation.
All Together is organizing an international petition drive to support theworkers. We appeal to you to build solidarity with the Hong Ik University
custodial workers fighting against injustice of job termination against unionization and of exploiting elderly people with a wage far below the
legal minimum wage by circulating the appeal as widely as possible and signing the petition below.
Please send the signatures to contactcjpark. It is critical that we urgently build international solidarity because the occupation cannot
continue for long as the workers’ health are deteriorating quickly due to the cold weather and their age.