Descentes de police dans les bureaux du syndicat des employés du gouvernement coréen

December, the 11th 2009


Mr Lee Myung-Bak
President of the Republic of Korea
Cheongwadae: 1 Cheongwadae-ro
Seoul, 110 - 820


E-mail :
Fax: + 82-2-2110-3079 / +82-2-770-4735


Dear Mr President,

Violation of Trade Union Rights

The Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) condemns in the strongest terms the police raids on the offices of its affiliate, the Korean Government Employees’ Union (KGEU) and the Railway Workers Union (KRWU), which is a member organisation of PSI affiliate, the Federation of Public Services and Transportation Workers' Union (KPTU).

According to our information, at 6 am on 1st December 2009, some 40 police officers conducted a raid on the KGEU office in the Yeongdeungpo area of Seoul, where they proceeded to confiscate computers, printed documents and other materials. At the same time, around 30 officers were conducting a similar raid of the two Yongsan area offices of the KRWU.

CSQ understands that arrest warrants have been issued against the leaders of the KRWU and that police are investigating allegations that, by distributing leaflets criticising Government policy and encouraging members to take part in demonstrations, the KGEU was involved in “illegal activities”. We believe that it is no coincidence that these raids took place on the same day the KGEU filed its notice of registration as a trade union and a week after the KRWU started lawful strike action.

CSQ has observed with growing alarm the relentless Government crackdown on the trade union rights of public service employees in South Korea; not least the revisions to the “Public Service Regulations” which took effect on the same day as the raids on the offices of the KGEU and the KRWU. These revisions purport to prohibit government employees from collectively objecting to government policies, including through issuing public statements, endorsing petitions and participating in protests or assemblies; and from wearing clothing with political slogans. The revisions are a clear infringement of rights to freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Korea as well as international human rights and labour standards.

This hard-line approach by your Government only serves guarantee continued industrial unrest and jeopardise any prospects of peaceful labour-management relations in the public sector.

CSQ calls on your Government to:

  • Refrain from all interference in the activities of its affiliated trade unions;
  • Unconditionally withdraw all arrest warrants issued against trade union leaders;
  • End all acts of harassment and intimidation against public sector trade unionists;
  • Repeal the revisions to the Public Service Regulations which came into effect on 1st December;
  • Repeal changes made to the procedures for the deduction of union dues of KGEU members, which now require the annual written consent of employees;
  • Refrain from the unilateral cancellation, suspension or amendment of public sector Collective Bargaining Agreements;
  • Repeal laws banning employers from paying full time trade union officials.

CSQ further calls on your Government to abide by its international obligations to respect trade union rights and freedoms, including those obligations pertaining to its membership of the International Labour Organisation and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Yours sincerely,


Réjean Parent
Centrale des syndicats du Québec
Québec, Canada