Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2017, 12:58 GMT

2013 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights - Korea (Republic of)

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 6 June 2013
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2013 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights - Korea (Republic of), 6 June 2013, available at: [accessed 12 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Previous authorisation requirements: The Korean Government Employees Union (KGEU) has been refused registration three times.

Direct discrimination against trade union members and leaders: 137 KGEU members have been dismissed for their trade union activities. The KGEU President and Secretary General were dismissed on the grounds that they are leaders of an illegal organisation.

165 public enterprise workers who are members of the Korean Federation of Public Sector and Transportation Workers' Unions (KPTU) were dismissed in retaliation for legitimate union activities. Many of these workers, including 96 members of the KPTU-affiliated Korean Railway Workers' Union faced reprisals due to their opposition to public sector privatisation and other actions taken to defend quality public services. Others were fired in an effort to prevent legitimate efforts to improve poor working conditions.

Interference by employers: Hanjin has formed a "yellow" union to lure members from the Korea Metal Workers Union (KMWU). This situation drove Choe Kang-seo, Deputy Organising Director of the KMWU Busan Regional Branch Hanjin Local to take his life.

Exclusion of workers from freedom of association: The Jaeneung Educational Institute has deterred its employees from joining unions using methods such as dismissals and cancellation of collective bargaining agreements in February 2013.

Government moves to deregister teachers' union: The Ministry of Employment and Labour, upon a January 2013 request from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST), threatened to cancel immediately the registration of the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU) if it did not amend its constitution. Currently, the KTU Constitution allows dismissed workers to remain members of the union, which is allowed under international law but prohibited under Korean law.

Interference in trade union activities and administration: E-Mart Co. Ltd. systemically attempted to undermine the organisation of the union, such as illegally using workers' resident registration numbers to check if they had joined the union.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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