KHMU Newsletter No. 4 February 20, 2020
On Feb 11, agreement was reached on the issue of fired workers at the Yeungnam University Medical Center.
Park Moon-jin, member of the leadership committee ended her protest on the rooftop in 227 days.
On February 11(Tuesday), at the private mediation session held in the Ministry of Employment and Labor in Daegu, the KHMU (Korean Health and Medical Workers Union) and the Management at the Yeungnam University Medical Center reached an agreement to reinstate fired workers and to normalize the industrial relations.
The two parties agreed on: ▲ payment of retirement bonus to Park Moon-jin, member of the leadership committee(59, nurse); Park will be first reinstated on March 1 and resign ▲ reinstatement of Song Young-suk (43, nurse) on May 1 ▲ the freedom of joining and leaving the trade union and mutual endeavor to improve the industrial relations ▲ cancellation of civil and criminal lawsuit and withdrawal of legal disputes. With this, the union-busting activities of Changjo Consulting-led layoff issues in 2006 and the demand for reinstatement of fired workers were all resolved in 14 years.
Park Moon-join, member of the leadership committee, who had been on the 74 meter-high rooftop at the Medical Center from July 1st last year concluded her struggling protest in 227 days, on February 12. On the same day, the KHMU, Daegoo Regional Head Office of the KCTU(Korean Confederation of Trade Union) and Civic Committee jointly held the ceremony of disbanding before the Respiratory Center at the Medical Center. Park put her step on the ground in 227 days after the long lasting extreme struggles amidst of heat wave, typhoon, and freezing cold and biting wind.
“I believe the end of the 14 year long struggle and the agreement on reinstatement of fired workers and normalization of industrial relations were possible thanks to solidarity and dedication among and by the KHMU that was a center for industry-level protest, the regional office of the KCTU and civil society. I would send my deepest appreciations to those who joined in this struggle and expressed their solidarity,” said the KHMU President Na Soon-ja.
In 2006, the union branch at the Medical Center went into a partial strike for three days to demand a higher staffing level with the five-day work week system being implemented and regularization of irregular working positions. It was the last resort that the union branch decided to take under such an evil law as the compulsory arbitration system and employers’ unfaithfulness in negotiations. As soon as the strike started, the hospital management claimed 5.6 billion KRW for compensation to the executive union members and fired 10 of them. Worse more, they used violent union-busting tactics, which resulted in a dramatic decrease in the number of union members to 70 from 950. In 2010, four years later from then, the Supreme Court ruled that out of the ten fired workers, 7 were unfairly dismissed while the lay-off of other three was justifiable. Afterwards, in 2012, Changjo Consulting’s union-busting activities were disclosed during the hearing session at the National Assembly. Subsequently, the Supreme Court gave the Medical Canter a guilty verdict on the rest three lay-off cases.
The trade union takes the crack-down on the union at the Medical Center as part of the union-busting strategies by Changjo Consulting at a time when ‘Park Geun-hye Foundation’, the predecessor of Yeungnam Academy came back.
In exchange for busting a number of democratic unions, Changjo Consulting was guaranteed a high level of profits and successful businesses. Meanwhile, those fired workers at the Medical Center have been driven to the street for the past 14 years. Together with the KHMU, they have countlessly conducted a variety of protests such as whole body(forehead, palms, knees and toes)’s touching the ground, press conferences, one man demonstration, etc. In 2012, they even made three thousand bows every day in front of then-presidential candidate Park Geun-hye’s house for 75 days as part of the protests. Finally, to survive, with very desperate aspirations, two fired workers went up to the rooftop of the Medical Center on July 1, last year to promote their situations. The vice branch head Song quit the protest due to health problems in 107 days, but Park, the leadership committee member alone continued to be up on the rooftop for over 100 days even after Song went down. The Daegu Ministry of Employment and Labor had mediated the industrial dispute by holding private mediation sessions of two members for several months.
The KHMU, the local labor community, civil society and political parties constituted a pan-citizen taskforce committee and held cheering candlelight demonstrations every day before the Medical Center. To count tireless protests after the rooftop demonstration at the 74 meter height that began on July 1, ▲ the rooftop protest lasted for 227 days ▲ protests at the lobby continued for 221 days ▲ representatives from trade unions, political parties and civic groups joined a fast protest all together ▲ campaigns during commuting and lunch time were conducted ▲ struggle cultural performances were staged ▲ walk struggle from Gyeongju to Daegu was held for five days ▲ the whole body touching the ground campaign was conducted with wishes for the rooftop protest victory ▲ a testimony contest was held at the National Assembly ▲the KHMU’s focal protest was held at the Medical Center ▲ the resolution rally was held in Daegu ▲ workers’ rally in the Yeungnam region was held ▲ the KCTU’s resolution rally was held.
The KHMU President Na in particular faste
d for 23 days until January 31st
from January 9 at the Medical Center’s lobby, urging the Medical Center to take
actions at the soonest possible for reinstatement of fired workers, guarantee
of normalization of union activities and resolution of other relevant issues.
The branch head Kin Jin-gyeong at the Medical Center (the head at the Daegu-Gyeongbook regional head office) also went on a fast protest for 19 days. Lee Gil-woo the head of the KCTU Daegu regional head office and others from trade unions, political parties, and civil society as well joined in the fast protest.
The management and workers at the Medcial Center had discussed the issues last year based on the proposals made by members of the private medication committee and on January 31st,the working-level negotiation made their position gaps become narrower on reinstatement of fired workers and normalization of industrial relations. The final agreement was made to accept the mediation committee’s proposal on February 11.