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4 June 2017

South Korean union leaders sentenced on politically-motivated charges

The Seoul Court of Appeal has just two trade union leaders to up to two-years prison time on charges of obstruction of business, simply for conducting rallies in trying to bring their employers to the bargaining table. On the original charges of joint intimidation, joint extortion and joint threatening the two were found not guilty.

Jeong Min-ho, Vice President of the Korean Construction Workers Union (Tower Crane Operators’ Division), was sentenced to two-years imprisonment and Kim Myeong-uk, President of the Seoul Tower Crane Operators’ Branch, to one and a half years, as well as suspended sentences of three years each.

BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson said politically-motivated charges like this must come to an end. “South Korea’s new President, Moon Jae-in, must look into these cases, which arbitrarily deprive trade union officials of their freedom, simply for exercising the rights guaranteed by international law and the Korean constitution. The BWI stands in solidarity with South Korean workers, and will continue to provide support to stop politically motivated attacks such as these against trade unions.”