Once the fierce fighting ended yesterday (August 5, 2009), 100 strikers left the occupation throughout the night (many out of disgust at the ruthlessness of the state and company's violence). At the end of the negotiations last week, management's last offer was 60% of the workers would accept voluntary retirement (or termination) with 40% taking an unpaid furlough until they're called back. Negotiations began today at 11:00 a.m., with the union now agreeing to retirement for 52%, with 48% for the furlough. The strike is over and the occupiers will leave the factory any minute.
***Update August 6, 2009: the strike & occupation has come to an end on its 77th day***
It ended at 2:50 p.m. Korea time (30 minutes ago).
In April 2009 a court-approved restructuring plan was for 2,646 workers to leave the company by either voluntary early retirement or termination. Not long after, more than 2000 workers, including casuals and subcontracted workers, had already left. The pre-strike workforce had been 7,179.
By the start of the strike and occupation, strikers were fighting for job security for 976 workers. Today's settlement will only save 48% of those jobs (approx. 468), with 52% being terminated.
Local president of the Ssangyong branch (Han Sang Kyun, who also worked in the factory; he was not a piecard) of the Korean Metal Workers Union talking with strikers inside the occupied factory: Union official greeting management representatives for negotiations: Container where negotiations took place: Awaiting negotiation results:
Hospitalized worker who fell off roof and broke 2 vertebrae:
After fighting the class war so valiantly in defense of all workers for 77 days, this settlement seems extremely compromised. But due to the large number of casualties, it must be expected. The bravery of these comrades should be saluted; their holding out so militantly for so long should be an inspiration for all working class people everywhere.
***BreakingNews Update 4:00 p.m. (Korea time)***
The strikers are leaving the occupied factory, but 20 to 30 have rejected the union and company's negotiated settlement and remain in the factory.
We can only wish them luck and offer our solidarity as they refuse to compromise and continue the fight!
The Ssangyong Occupation is Dead,
Long Live the Ssangyong Occupation!