Factory strike in Seoyeon forcibly disbanded

SDP leader Köroğlu, 2 other deputies detained

By Political Correspondent Kim Su-yeon

SEOYEON: After an accident with machinery led to two major injuries at an auto parts factory in Seoyeon, Sinhan, workers took to the street to protest for safer working conditions and a more thorough inspection of the factory’s facilities. While the company had inspected the machinery similar to the one that malfunctioned, the rapid turnaround time of the inspection, only three hours long, caused alarm amongst the plant’s workers. Over 200 of the workers went on strike today, and they were joined by prominent labor activists from around the nation, notably including several members of the Social Democratic Party’s delegation to the National Assembly.

Around noon WHT, Seoyeon municipal police started calling for the protest to cease, claiming that the strike was unlawful. While those associated with the protest had filed for a permit to protest, the application was denied by a judge in Sinhan on the grounds that it was “undermining economic security,” a statutory justification often used to prohibit labor related protests. After the workers refused to disband the strike, police began detaining those who remained, ultimately bringing 304 individuals into custody, including SDP floor leader Devrim Köroğlu. There were no recorded injuries that occured during the breakup of the strike. It is expected the vast majority of those detained will be released tomorrow morning or afternoon when the 24 hour holding period expires; however, the police will likely bring charges against those who organized the strike.

Köroğlu has issued a written statement from the Seoyeon Central precinct, stating that this is “an affront on workers everywhere,” and is an “example of how far Haesan still has to go in order to honour the commitment to liberalism it claims to hold dear.” Neither the Dalseongjeon nor the National Assembly have issued a comment on the matter. The two workers injured in the incident, both of whom will likely be unable to work again, have filed suit against their former employer. It is expected that many of those participating in the strike will be laid off in the coming days.

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