Yesterday (Monday, July 27, 2009) evening at 6:30, taking 40 minutes, around 3,000 police (out of a total of 9,000 cops surrounding the factory) and the fire department conducted a coordinated drill to simulate a "safe" retaking of the factory. But in the process, cops inched closer to the factory, securing positions within 30 meters of the paint department. A SWAT team of 50 cops also participated.
***Update Tuesday, July 28, 2009***
The latest report from strike supporters say there are 785 workers in the factory, made up of both those regular workers who are being laid off as well as casualized workers who joined the struggle in solidarity.
The police are closing in on the paint department, but the strikers occupying the factory are not backing down. They broadcast their determination to "fight to the death" over loudspeakers from the paint department roof, only to have the cop helicopters immediately resume the bombardment with bags of a toxic teargas mixture.
The map below shows that as of Monday at 1:00 p.m. the cops have fought their way even closer to occupied paint department (at bottom center with the number 2):
***Sunday, July 26, 2009***
Workers holed up in the factory:
Brief update: management failed to show up for the tripartite meeting today (Saturday, July 24, 2009), saying "Talks would be meaningless unless violent acts are halted." The hypocrisy is made clear by non-stop attack of helicopters dropping toxic liquid teargas on the strikers. In Pyeongtaek a solidarity rally took place today, with pitched street battle between demonstrators and riot cops. More details coming soon.
Photos of today's rally:
Today it became apparent that with the constant spraying of teargas tainted with thinner, strikers are suffering from their skin blistering and peeling off with an extreme burning sensation. With no water in the occupied factory to wash off the toxins, it is becoming a severe health problem. There was also a tripartite meeting between government, Ssangyong management, and the union. The company bosses refused to negotiate until the occupation ends, stating that they won't back down on the layoffs.
Today, 24 July 2009, is Day Five of the battle over the occupied Ssangyong Motors factory at Pyeongtaek in South Korea.
This report, from yesterday, is about the 3rd day of the police attack to evict the occupiers of the Ssangyong Motors factory at Pyeongtaek in South Korea. The cops and the strikebreaking gangsters ("kkang-pae") have resorted to using taser guns on individual strikers, in addition to using helicopters to spray a thinner-based teargas liquid directly onto the strikers on the roof of the occupied paint department.
(translated from the website of SSanyong Branch of Korean Metal Worker Union, http://sym.nodong.org/)
3rd day of cop assault on the factory
[Slogan spray painted on top of paint department building says: "Kill us all if you don't want negotiation"]
Workers from the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight who are set to lose their jobs are staging a sit-in protest at the firm's offices.
Danish company Vestas Windsystems is laying off 625 workers at the end of July, despite rising profits. It said the Newport factory was being closed due to reduced demand for wind turbines in northern Europe.
About 20 people inside the offices in Cowes have vowed to remain there until "somebody listens to us". They began their protest at about 1930 BST.
South Korean police were not able to carry through with a pledge to enter a Ssangyong Motor Co. factory, which has been occupied by fired workers for almost two months, as the carmaker tries to resume production at the plant.
About 800 fired employees were still in a paint shop, confronting more than 3,000 police as of 5:22p.m. in Seoul, Ssangyong spokesman Cha Ki Woong said by phone at the plant in Pyeongtaek, where the automaker is based.
UK unemployment rose by a record 281,000 to 2.38 million in the three months to May, the Office for National Statistics has said. The jobless rate increased to 7.6%, the highest in more than 10 years.
The number of people claiming unemployment benefit increased by 23,800 in June to 1.56 million, which was less than analysts had forecast. Unemployment among young people has been especially acute, as firms cut jobs to reduce costs in the downturn.
Visteon Corp., which moved last week to cut off retiree health-care benefits, has asked a bankruptcy judge to authorize up to $80 million in management and insider bonuses.
Visteon hit the headlines earlier this year when their 600 UK workers responded to being sacked by occupying their workplaces and winning their redundancy pay which they had been denied. Full coverage on libcom was provided here: http://libcom.org/tags/visteon-occupation
News emerged today of plans by Queens University in Belfast to make 150 members of academic staff redundant.
Just over a year after Queens University attempted to pursue compulsory redundancies for the first time in its history, plans are afoot to axe 150 academic jobs at the university.