72nd Anniversary and Fundraiser
"The year 2018 will be the first year to achieve the goal of two million members"
On March 9, 2018, the Federation of Korean Trade Unions held a celebration and fundraiser to commemorate its 72nd anniversary in the FKTU building convention hall.
The FKTU celebrates March 10th, the date when its predecessor, the Korean Labour Federation for Independence Promotion(KLFIP), was established in 1946 as its foundation date. The KLFIP was requested to democratize the organization after the April Revolution in 1960, and subsequently merged with the National Council of Trade Unions and renamed the Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU). However this integrated union was dissolved in 1961 due to the May 16 coup. The military regime promulgated the Act on Temporary Measures for Collective Activities of Workers and ordered the re-establishment of trade unions. Accordingly, the FKTU was re-launched with sixteen industrial affiliates on August 30, 1961. Since that time, the umbrella organization has continuously struggled for autonomy and democracy, but its efforts were consistently thwarted by the military government's severe oppression.
Nevertheless, after the 1987 Great Labor Struggle, the organization declared "the second birth of the FKTU" in a temporary delegate conference in November 1988, and set upon a path toward the realization of a democratic labor movement upholding autonomy against power and capital. While marking the 60th anniversary in 2006, the national center embraced the new ideology of "participation for realization of an equal welfare society and unionism for social solidarity."
In his ceremony commemoration, FKTU president Kim Ju-young emphasized the need to increase union membership to two million members. President Kim explained that "out of twenty million workers, only about 10 % are unionized." He also proclaimed that "All unions under the FKTU at the central, industrial, and regional levels will strive for the organization of unorganized workers, precarious workers, and independent trade unions not affiliated with any umbrella organization." The president went on to say "The year 2018 will be the first year for the FKTU to achieve the goal of two million members, as by increasing union density we will alleviate social polarization and protect worker rights and interests."
In regard to the idea of social dialogue, President Kim said that "the FKTU proposed 'a new social dialogue' last September and the tripartite representatives have finally begun to meet to restructure the social dialogue organization." He argued "Since the meeting began by overcoming numerous difficulties, I am looking forward to seeing a more mature social dialogue than before."
The head of the national center said, "In April 2019, we celebrate not only the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea on April 13, but also the 100th anniversary of the ILO on April 11." He then added, "We need to reflect on the past 100 years and make plans for the next 100 years in order to realize the great transformation of Korean into a labor respecting society."
The 1st FKTU social solidarity contribution prize was also awarded during the celebration. The national center established the contribution prize in order to develop social solidarity activities befitting of its social status as a leading social influencer, and to motivate and encourage its affiliated unions to conduct social contribution activities.
Since 2010, the FKTU has raised funds for the marginalized groups during its foundation ceremony for the purpose of social contribution.