general strikes in south korea

map of south korea

1996, december 26 - 1997, march? - over a million workers strike in opposition to government legislation
at dawn on december 26, 1996, the ruling new korea party (nkp) railroaded two controversial bills on labor in the absence of opposition lawmakers. a special plenary session opened at 6 a.m. and the 154 ruling-party lawmakers (of a 299 member legislature) passed 11 bills in just six minutes. two of the bills delay recognition of non-authorized labor unions, significantly relax employee protections from terminations and involuntary overtime, and grants the south korea intelligence agency greater power to investigate dissidents and espionage agents.

the general strike is now in its third month. president kim young sam and his ruling party, while compelled by the force of the general strike to make a commitment for re-amendment, remain cowered by the fear of straying out of the favour of the big business groups. furthermore, they remain uncommitted to the principle of freedom of association for teachers and government employees from the fear of running against the powerful private school owners lobby and bureaucracy. their attitude, in a more long term perspective, also reflects their concern over the potential development of the trade union movement as a potent political force which could challenge their monopoly on political and policy affairs. for more information check out the korean confederation of trade unions' strike page.

statement by john sweeney, afl-cio president, on the general strike in south korea

a couple articles on these strikes were also published in the people's weekly world, a publication of the communist party u.s.a.

due to the short attention span of most news media, additional information about this strike has been difficult to find. if you have information about when and how this event concluded, please e-mail me.

the world : asia : south korea