On 30 July, the Mando Corporation - a South Korean auto-parts manufacturer - locked out all unionised workers. It is now blackmailing them into a no-strike agreement, and encouraging them to join a new trade union, that the bosses created immediately following the lock-out.
Fearing that a longstanding dispute over pay would lead to a strike, Mando brought in hundreds of privately hired security guards who prevented members of the KMWU (Korean Metal Workers Union) from entering the plant.
Since the lock-out, Mando have contacted all members of the KMWU – advising them that they can return to work, but only if they sign a pledge ‘not to go on strike’.
The commitment statement includes the line,
“From June 14, the signatory refused overtime and participated in a strike in accordance with directives from the executive of the Mando branch of the Korean Metal Workers’ Union. The signatory will no longer participate in illegal collective action and will work sincerely in accordance with the company’s code of conduct.”
The pledge also requires the name, department, work ID number, and signature.
A company official said that,
“Because workers can take collective action if we allow them back, we plan to reinstate only those whom we’ve gotten a pledge from showing that they have a strong will to work.”
The South Korean courts have ruled that such practices are illegal - it is a surprise that the bosses would be so open about their blackmail.
Since yesterday, the bosses have been sending regular text messages to the workers saying that,
“Only employees who clearly intend not to participate in illegal strikes would be permitted to enter the factory”
Since the lock-out, a new trade union has been created by the bosses. It has set up an office in the factory, and is taking applications from those who wish to leave the KMWU.