|▲ Trend of unionization rate|
The trend of unionization rate is starting to pick up after it fell to have remained stagnant between 10 to 11 percent for more than 10 years. After the Candlelight Revolution in South Korea last year, the number of newly organized workers by the two trade union national centers alone reached over 100,000 workers. Workers found the courage to oust a corrupt regime and to fight for their rights. They are demanding their rights to form trade unions beyond overcoming the employer's power tripping.
In the private sector, irregular workers of suppliers and subcontractors were largely organized by their own choice or with the support offered by trade unions of regular workers.
During the past one year, organizing workers in the public sector was found successful in that the union membership of the industrial unions belonging to the two trade union national centers increased by 32,000. It seemed that the job regularization policy of the public sector had greatly affected the result.
Workers are starting to form their trade unions in Samsung Electronics Service, a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics with 80 years of 'Samsung's no-union policy' and their organizing efforts might spread to other Samsung's affiliates including the Samsung Medical Center.
POSCO, a South Korean steel-making company which did not allow workers to form their trade unions for 50 years, now has two trade unions formed by the irregular workers of subcontractors. The Federation of Korean Metalworkers' Trade Unions set up a taskforce team to assist the workers in POSCO in order to join a local general trade union.
In recent, even vocational high school graduates formed a trade union to protect their rights. The intimidation or power tripping of the management is also another factor to trigger the formation of trade unions.
According to a 'public opinion survey on labor relations' in 2017 by the Korea Labor Institute , 70.3% of the respondents said that "trade unions protect workers from unfair labor practice." And 62.2 % of the respondents said that "trade unions positively affect the alleviation of social inequality."
reported by Kim Mi-young
translated by Kim Sung-jin
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