OFFICIAL SPEECH of president of FKTU in 3rd ITUC World Congress
My name is KIM Dong-man, President of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions.
Let me first thank the ITUC for its firm commitment to the protection of workers for the last 4 years.
Encouragement and sympathy from the ITUC and the international community for the Sewol ferry disaster was a great solace to grief-stricken Korean people.
Taking this opportunity, once again, I extend my gratitude to all of you for the strong support.
The Congress statement starts with the phrase, “People feel abandoned by their government.”
This clearly reflects the feelings of frustrated people, not only Koreans grieving over the sunken ferry but also people suffering from the worst-ever mine disaster in Turkey, the collapse of the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, and extreme oppression of labour in Cambodia and Fiji.
Ruthless neoliberal deregulation and indiscriminate use of precarious workers are mainly responsible for these agonies.
Irresponsible governments and unethical businesses are overlooking and even encouraging these tragedies.
They have used the economic recession to tip the balance of power firmly towards large corporations, depriving people and workers of their basic rights.
Against the backdrop, the theme of the Congress, “Building the power of workers to shape societies and economies that are socially just”, is extremely timely and important.
Regrettably, however, Korean workers are faced with awfully frustrating situations ahead of this huge mission.
A raid on the KCTU’s headquarters by riot police and the oppression of the Korean Teachers’ Union and the Korean Government Employees’ Union are the prime examples.
The Korean government is conniving at long working hours exceeding 52 hours per week. It is encouraging indiscriminate layoffs, discarding all the campaign pledges it made.
FKTU’s demands are entirely being ignored -- fundamental rights for workers in special employment arrangements, repeal of the provision on the wage ban for full-time union officials, reform of a unified bargaining channel, and the elimination of compensation suits and provisional seizures, just to name a few.
The government of Korea is shifting the debt burden of the public sector on workers, flatly denying the right to collective bargaining stipulated in the Constitution.
Korea is a hotbed of industrial accidents where 2,000 workers are dead and 100,000 are suffering from industrial accidents every year.
Korea is not an isolated case.
Having said that, we must achieve the globalization of labour in order to stand firmly against the merciless globalization of capital.
We should mobilize workers’ and people’s power around the globe in protest against the tyranny of unregulated capital.
We should come to the front together with our suffering sisters and brothers trapped in the modern-day slavery of the 21st century and people fighting for liberation and democracy.
We must promote democracy and freedom and build workers’ power through stronger solidarity under the banner of the ITUC in order to achieve socially just world.
I believe this Congress will be a major turning point for the future vision.
We, the FKTU, extend full support to the ITUC for its inclusive trade union movement, and will actively join its fight for economic and social justice.
Thank you very much.