The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) began a general strike on 28 February against the government moves to impose greater “flexibility” on Korean workers.
The KCTU claim 150,000 trade unionists at over 150 workplaces, including 75,000 workers of Hyundai Motors, Kia Motors and Korail, took part in the strike action. During the strike, the KCTU held massive protest rallies in 10 major cities.
The KCTU said that the legislation would do little to improve the working conditions of temporary workers, while allowing employers to hire more irregular workers and simply lay them off before they have to offer them a better employment status.
In another strike, the government’s arbitration board ruled that a strike by railworkers from the Korail company was illegal. The strike went ahead anyway and over 200 workers were arrested.
Workers at some 32 companies in the southern Vietnam province of Dong Nai have taken strike action since the beginning of January. A strike at Fujitsu started at the end of February and a strike at Mabuchi Motor started on since 23 February. Five strikes broke out in Ho Chi Minh City on 1 March.
Workers have not received increases in the minimum wage agreed in February. One Fujitsu worker said. “Prices of everything rise except my salary.” Mabuchi Motor workers are demanding pay rises every year.