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CUPE has written letters on behalf of workers in South Korea and the Phillipines as part of international campaigns.

The Public Services International asked its affiliates, which include CUPE, to write letters on behalf of trade unionists in both countries who have been struggling for recognition and survival.

Phillipines: threats and political killings

CUPE responded to PSI’s urgent action appeal to protest the threats and intimidation against Annie Geron, PSLINK General Secretary and PSI Executive Board member, as well as six other staff members. These threats have been continuing for a long period of time, and date back to February 2003, when PSI also issued an urgent action appeal to protect Annie Geron and other union members.

Since Phillipene President Arroyo came to power in 2001 there have been more than 700 political killings of activists, farmers’ leaders, students, priests, lawyers, journalists and trade union organisers. The Centre for Human and Trade Union Rights in the Philippines has reported more than 64 killings of trade union organisers an additional 982 cases of trade union and human rights violations, including assault on the picket line, illegal arrest and detention, harassment and abduction.

Amnesty International notes in a recent report that “the killings constitute a pattern of politically targeted extrajudicial executions taking place within the broader context of a continuing counter-insurgency campaign” and the fact that the “majority of attacks remain unresolved illuminates a continuing failure by the authorities to act with due diligence in investigating and prosecuting such violations”.

South Korea: general strike for union recognition

Meanwhile in South Korea, November 15th, was both an international day of solidarity with the embattled South Korean labour movement and also the occasion a huge general strike there. See Labourstart’s coverage of South Korea, or the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions for more.

Despite numerous requests by the international community, the South Korean Government has refused to recognise PSI’s affiliate, the Korean Government of Employees Union (KGEU), declaring it an illegal organisation and recently launching a series of repressive actions aiming at closing the KGEU offices injuring a number of its members.

CUPE wrote a letter in response to a PSI urgent action to in support of the KGEU.