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Again, another worker burned himself
claiming “the recognition to trade union and collective bargaining”
Lee Kkoch-mam, Reporter liberty@jinbo.net
Five days after the deceased Jung die, a worker of Seoul Milk, a corporation that produces dairy goods and milk products, burned himself for the same cause which the deceased claimed: recognizing union and making a collective bargaining.

A Mr. Ko is being treated at Hangang Sacred Heart Hospital and Mr. Pak is under investigation in Ansan police department for arson. Both are union workers of Seoul Milk’s transport part, which has been gone on overall strike since last October 15. Seoul Milk Company’ transport part is an affiliate of Freight Transport Workers’ League of Korean Transport Workers’ Union

Union members who were taking care of Mr. Ko said “All we want the company to do is to recognize our union and make a collective bargaining”, which is supposed to be the basic right of workers, the right of organization.

Jang Kyu-ho, a rep of the union recalled that Ko had been enthusiastic about union activities and participated in the strike with devotion and said that he might have been hurt because the employer intimidated workers into quitting strike and returned to work.

Union workers said fifteen days into strike the company started calling their home and coaxing returning to work. They also have threatened workers with provisional attachment for damages and made workers who are going on strike stumbled.

Seoul Milk is said to force workers to move away and unfair contracts.

The strikers are freight truck drivers who transport milk products and raw material at Seoul Milk.

The company has allegedly been imposing punitive measures to workers who join union. Freight Transport Workers’ League released a press kit and revealed that the company forced workers to move somewhere unfamiliar if one tries to join the union and required renewed contract that poses penalties if one gets participated in specific organizations. It also revealed that the company has bluntly compelled drivers to overload goods and expand working hours and range to cover so that their working conditions have been severely devastated.

This is the reason the union decided to go on strike. The union also said in the statement that since the strike was launched, the dairy company has refused to pay freight charges that should have been paid in order to wither the workers who are participating in strike.

Jang Kyu-ho, a rep of the union, said “Despite our moderate requirements, the company is silent and makes no response.” So the union will hold a rally in front of the third plant of the company.

A spokesperson of Freight Transport Workers’ League said “Not only Seoul Milk but also other many companies like CJ GLS in Chung-buk, SK Energy in Pusan/Kyung-nam, and The Korea Express in Jeju all deny the existence of Freight Transport Workers’ League and force unfair contracts so that they are worsening the situation by rejecting any conversation with the unions which are affiliates of Freight Transport Workers’ League. And he said “the Freight Transport Workers’ League is all Mr. Ko has tried to defend and recognition of it is just the overall demand of all members of the league.”

In the statement, the league also insisted that Seoul Milk recognize the fact that it is all responsible for this situation and accommodate the demands of workers to settle down the strikes.

Besides, the union accused the company of using improper means in transporting goods that require refrigeration.

translated by Cho Eun-seok

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