AMWU supports workers' struggle in Korea.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union is protesting at the Korean
Consulate in Sydney today, in support of Daewoo workers in Korea who were
violently suppressed by 4000 riot police while taking strike action.
Mr Paul Bastian, NSW State Secretary of the AMWU said today that he was
horrified to see the televised scenes of police violently evicting protestors
from the Daewoo Pupyong plant. At one stage, 4000 armed police used fork
lifts to surround and ram protestors, including women and children.
"Last week the world witnessed terrifying images of thousands of riot police
violently suppressing Korean workers, their families and children who were
protesting at the Daewoo plant," said Mr Bastian.
The workers in Korea suffered brutal and vicious attacks from police last
week while protesting against mass sackings that now total nearly 5000.
Financial mismanagement, based on huge illegal overseas loans by Daewoo
executives, has led to the mass sackings with remaining workers being forced
to accept 30% cuts to their wages.
Daewoo is now bankrupt and the Korean Government is seeking to sell Daewoo to
General Motors. The Korean government is seeking to crush the workers in the
interests of the World Trade Organisation, the International Monetary Fund
and General Motors. GM is the only likely buyer, who will only purchase
Daewoo if there is significant 'restructuring'.
The Korean government has spent massive resources on crushing the workers,
but has failed to put any resources into catching the corrupt management who
were responsible for the crisis. The CEO Kim Woo Choong has been accused of
embezzling 20 trillion won (the equivalent of one third of the entire South
Union seeks meeting with Korean Consular General The AMWU has written to the
Korean Consular General seeking a meeting to discuss the situation in Korea
and to urge the Korean government to withdraw police action, end the
harassment of union leaders and release arrested Daewoo workers.
The AMWU has had a long-term relationship with the Korean Metal Workers'
Federation (KMWF) over the last ten years. Mr Bastian said today that this
violent attack on the workers and the union was a flagrant attack on human
rights and should be condemned.
"What we are witnessing is the ugly effects of globalisation, where a
sovereign government will sell out the rights of workers and the peoples'
quality of life to the interests of trans-national corporations," said Mr
Mr Julius Roe, National President of the AMWU, said today that the AMWU is
opposed to the free trade policies of the World Trade Organisation.
"The Howard Government is using free trade policies as a battering ram that
will destroy jobs in both Korea and Australia. The free trade policies of the
Howard Government and the WTO are to build the profits of the multi-national
corporations. The AMWU and the Korean unions are campaigning against this for
Fair Trade not Free Trade," said Mr Roe.
Last year the financial problems at Daewoo saw 400 Australian workers loose
their jobs at the General Motors engine plant at Fishermens Bend in
Melbourne. A major supplier to Daewoo, the Australian plant cut back
production following the collapse of Daewoo in Korea.
The AMWU has organised a protest rally where workers, unions, students,
Aidwatch, churches and community groups will be protesting in support of
workers in Korea.
"We are protesting in support of the Korean workers' right to protest, their
right to long term job security and against the influence of globalised
capital and the free trade agenda of the World Trade Organisation, which has
corrupted the Korean Government's handling of the Daewoo situation," said Mr
The protest is at 1pm Thursday 1st March 2001
Korean Consulate, 32 Martin Place, Sydney
The following people will be speaking at the protest:
Paul Bastian NSW State Secretary, AMWU
Joon Shik Shin Korean Resource Centre
James Arvanitakis Aid Watch
For further information about the situation in Korea contact:
Julius Roe, National President, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union 0419