Ssangyong Workers Update – The Empire Strikes Back

October 19, 2009 at 8:49 pm (Uncategorized)

Earlier this year I posted several articles about the strike at the Ssangyong Motor Company. In July, the strike ended in defeat.  Here is a brief update on the state’s viciousness in the aftermath of the strike. The new issue of Internationalist Perspective also has a short report.

(Yonhap) — A mid-ranking official with Ssangyong Motor’s labor union was sentenced to one and a half years in prison on Friday for masterminding a months-long demonstration that paralyzed South Korea’s smallest automaker earlier this year.

The defendant, identified only by his surname Kim, was accused of organizing a prolonged occupation of the company’s only plant in Pyeongtaek, 70km south of Seoul, that halted production in May and June.

The protest was marked by violent clashes that left dozens injured.

The Suwon District Court convicted Kim of incurring 2.29 billion won (US$1.96 million) in damages to the automaker and destroying 10 million won worth of office furniture.

The court also sentenced another Ssangyong union member to a one-year prison term, suspended for two years, for similar charges.

Unionized workers launched the violent strike to protest management’s restructuring plan that called for reducing the company’s workforce by 36 percent. Ssangyong came under court receivership in February.

The 77-day occupation of the automaker’s key facilities by hundreds of unionized workers ended in early August after the union agreed to the company’s reduced layoff plan.

The unrest was estimated to cost Ssangyong over 300 billion won in lost production.

Police arrested a total of 79 workers and outside labor activists on charges of participating in the violent rallies.

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