ATNC Joint Day of Action – Hong Kong protest at Korean and Philippines Consulates
Today in Hong Kong we conducted the ATNC Joint Day of Action against trade union repression in Asia – focusing on the South Korean Consulate and the Philippines Consulate.
In the South Korean Consulate where we went first, the Consulate office was shut down, security gate pulled down…but Consul-General Jun came out to listen to us. We spoke about the shame of an ILO and OECD member so systematic robbing workers of trade union rights, including stopping workers from forming unions, regarding press conferences as illegal, mass arrests and disciplinary measures against legitimate unions and strikes, such as by the Korean Teachers Union.
We condemned Samsung Corporation as one of the worst, with its ‘no-union policy’. We demanded justice and compensation for the victims of Samsung semiconductor factories who died or are ill from working at Samsung. We demanded justice for the dead leukemia victims like Hwang Yu-mi, who died at the young age of only 22 years, after working at Samsung just two years, cleaning wafers at Samsung Semiconductor.
SEE HERE FOR VIDEO “Workers in Samsung” (ENGLISH/CHINESE) –http://dotsub.com/view/user/workersinsamsun
We also condemned the Korean government for its inhumane crackdown on migrant workers in Korea. Furthermore the Korean Consulate in Hong Kong also shows disregard for migrant rights in Hong Kong – when Hong Kong people travel to Korea with their domestic workers, the Korean Consulate sends them a LETTER which says that it is ‘strongly recommended’ to HOLD the passport of the domestic worker to prevent becoming an undocumented migrant worker in Korea. This is illegal in Hong Kong yet the Korean Consulate itself issues letters to advise people to do so.
Consul-General Jun listened to us from the beginning and received our letter and said he would convey our message to his government and try to protect workers’ rights including migrant rights.
At the Philippines Consulate, we received a much less diplomatic reception. Through the police escort, the Consulate repeatedly tried to make us meet their representative at a location far from the Consulate.
Finally we went up but the Philippine Consulate was also shut down – door closed, security gates pulled down. We were told the Consul General Claro Cristobal was not present then, and nobody would come to receive our letter if we stayed. However we stayed to let all those who were there, about the extrajudicial killings, the use of ‘assumption of jurisidiction’ to justify use of police and military against workers simply trying to defend their rights or to strike….We expressed our strong solidarity with the workers of Nestle and Toyota, who have been striking so many years to demand their legal rights to collective bargaining and recognition – our sorrow for the two dead union leaders of Nestle who had been killed and our outrage.
Dolores Balladares of Asian Migrant Coordinating Body also spoke in Tagalog to the Filiipina migrant workers present, expressing that we all were assembled to show solidarity with Filipino workers, and that the Phlippines government was doing nothing while workers of Nestle and Toyota and many other workplaces are being threatened, beaten and even killed. She further condemned the Consulate for closing down and stopping services to migrant Filipina workers, simply to stop us from having our chance to raise our legitimate grievances!
Finally one staff came and collected our letter to pass to the Consul-General.
The groups who joined included: Asia Monitor Resource Centre, HK Confederation of Trade Unions, Globalization Monitor, Asian Migrant Coordinating Body, International League of People’s Struggles, Asian Students Assocation, Asian Human Rights Commission, Interfaith Coooperation Forum, and Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants. About 25 of us were there…
THANKS to everyone…. and we hope this is the beginning of further solidarity and cooperation among all concerned groups and individuals until workers in Asia are free to unite for their share in decision-making in the economy and workplace, without being repressed and attacked!
NO MORE TRADE UNION REPRESSION IN ASIA!!
Solidarity to workers in South Korea! To those struggling against union-busting Samsung!
Solidarity to workers in Philippines! To the persevering workers at Nestle, Toyota and many other workplaces!
Solidarity to all workers in Asia – we will keep building up our voices and our strength!