Riot Police Hits Korean Auto Parts Plant
What happened in 2009 at SsangYong was about to happen once again in the country, this time at an auto parts factory in Asan, southwest of Seoul. There, 500 workers of the Yoosung Enterprise factory were on strike since May 18, the date when they occupied the factory with a sit-in protest, asking for higher wages and changed work hours.
After 11 hours of negotiations, the South Korean riot police, about 3,000 of them, stormed the factory and used what police representatives describe as force to disperse the crowd of striking workers.
“We had to use force to disperse the striking workers and hand control of the facility back to the management. The raid was unavoidable as last-minute talks between management and the employees on strike fell apart,” a police officer said, according to The Korea Times.
The strike at the Asan factory, which manufactures engine parts for several local automakers, the production of models wearing the Hyundai and Kia badges has been disrupted, the strike affecting production of the Kia Sedona, Hyundai Santa Fe and Tucson. And by the looks of it, despite the police intervention, the fight of the Yoosung is not over.
“Law enforcement authorities refused to follow law and order by sending riot police into the plant. This is tantamount to a barbaric act. We will fight along with unionized workers of Yoosung Enterprise to the end until we achieve our goals,” the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) said in a statement.