archives of global protests
the struggle continue...

South Korea: Daewoo Workers Strike
February/ March 2001

Video: Police Repression in South Korea 2001-2003
download (wmv • 19,4MB 8:30 min)

South Korea has a "remarkable tradition" in fighting neolib's globalization agenda since some years. Read some stuff about the recent protests against ASEM meeting in oct 2000 as well as on anti-IMF struggles generally. Beyond there are again and again uprisings by farmers or workers like these...
herewith we are presenting just some nice pics from the february/ march strike 2001 by daewoo workers (attended by students and other workers as well!) togeter with reports from the PICIS Newsletter #80 (below) and #81.

Daewoo Collapses to Global Capital

PICIS Newsletter #80 - February 21st, Thursday, 2001

protestors using water against police (wow!)

The collapse of Daewoo shows just what happens when a big national capital falls into the hands of global capital. Some commented that the fall of Daewoo was inevitable, some welcomed the collapse as a successful result of restructuring - one less company to share the market with. But the fall of Daewoo had enormous consequences for workers. Daewoo announced on 8th November, along with declaration of bankruptcy, that they will have to cut 3,500 jobs. Tens of thousands of workers fought hard all through November, fighting to protect their rights as workers, condemning the corrupt management which eventually brought the company down and denouncing the Kim Dae-Jung government which propagandize neo-liberalism as a remedy for the economy. Unfortunately, on 27th November, the Daewoo union gave into the threats that all workers will end up jobless if the union does not accept the cuts, and signed an agreement to form a joint committee with the management. But that will not stop the workers in their determination to fight for what they really believe.

New developments have come up, as management announced a week ago that it would lay off close to 2000 workers. The Daewoo union retaliated, immediately going on strike, and the government intervened a few days later by sending riot police to break up the strike. The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions has announced that it can no longer tolerate the oppressive actions by the government and has initiated an all-out government strike, holding daily rallies. Just 2 days ago, 2000 protestors burned two police trucks and threw rocks at riot police in the streets of Bu-Pyung, vowing that the struggle would not cease unless the layoffs were withdrawn, and the management and government were ready for sincere talks with the workers.

protestors using water against police (wow!)

clashes with riot police

PICIS Newsletter #81
Edited by the PICIS Newsletter Team
Publishedby the Policy and Information Center for International Solidarity
March 1st, Thursday, 2001

Please Circulate and Distribute, Contact us at

Editor's Note: We send you this newsletter out of a sense of urgency. The workers at Daewoo Motors have been on strike against the lay-offs of 1750 workers since the 16th of February. The government has brutally repressed the workers, sending in riot police to break up the strike at the factory. Workers, students, and social movement activists have been engaged in an all-out battle against the government ever since, resulting in the arrest of dozens and the injury of hundreds. The people of Korea need your solidarity to overcome this attack by the government. Send your messages of support to the workers at Daewoo. Send your messages of protest to the Korea government and police. Organize actions at Korea Embassies. An injury to one is an injury to all!

More information on the Daewoo Struggle:


riot police

The Daewoo workers need you Support!!
Solidarity to the Workers at Daewoo Motors!!

The Daewoo workers have declared an all out struggle against the largest lay-offs ever in Korea, amidst brutal suppression from the government. The workers of Daewoo Motors had already been several strikes on and off during the last 9 months, but the struggle reached its peak on the 16th of February as the union announced an indefinite general strike against management's official announcement that 1,750 workers would be layed off. The management had made some revisions to its demands, for example, insisting that 400 of the 1,780 will be given 2 year leave without wages, but the union did not make any compromises.

The management has shut down the Bu-pyung plant where all of 1,750 to be laid off are working, but the union has called for the workers to keep working, organize education sessions and struggles. The police sent 2,000 riot police to the Bu-pyung plant and blocked the gates to prevent the workers who, having received their 'pink-slips' by post, came to the plant to join the demonstrations. Family members of the laid-off workers have also come to the plant in anguish to join forces with the striking workers. The management hired 300 'security' thugs to fight the workers, and on 19th February, the government took affirmative action and sent thousands of riot police to the plant to bread up the strike. The police thoroughly ignored the children of the workers who had come hanging on their mothers' backs, broke through the gates and forcefully dispersed the workers, causing many injuries.

molotov coctails

students throwing molotov coctails

After the suppression of the struggle at the Bu-Pyung plant, the workers are now out on the streets. On the 20th, 2,000 workers and students demonstrated at the Bupyeong Station and fought vigorously with molotov cocktails. They continued onto the next day. But the police closed off and blocked the demonstrators even before they had commenced. The demonstrators instead ran onto the highway and marched approximately 2km towards Seoul. On the 23rd, one worker who could not bear out the burden of being laid-off committed suicide. On the 24th, the police once again chased the workers and students who were trying to come together at the Bu-pyung Station. Some demonstrators were even driven onto the rails and were injured. The demonstrators then took over a road but were chased again into a nearby university and fought until dusk. 8 buses with supporting workers and family members also joined the barricades. More than 2,000 workers fought around the country the same day.

We are witnessing once again, how the economic crisis is brought on and used by the capitalist to throw workers onto the streets, weaken workers' power and bloat the wealth in their pockets. The brutality of the riot police brought out once again the essence of the Kim government, who came into power with sweet advertisements of democracy, as he shattered all hopes and immediately started his neo-liberal regime. Although it is evident whose side the government is on, the abrupt and pitiless violence shown towards the Daewoo workers came as a shock. The workers, who have nothing more to lose, are fighting back.

police officer with some eggs...

arrestation of a student

Along with the struggles at the plant, KCTU and other progressive organizations have formed Daewoo Motors Joint Struggle Headquarters to assist the workers struggles at the same time calling for the arrest of the Daewoo chairman, Kim Woo-Chung. Early morning on 9th February, 50 members of 'Daewoo Motors Joint Struggle Headquarters Arrest Squad' occupied the luxurious house of the Daewoo chairman, Kim Woo-Chung, calling for the his arrest, on multiple charges against him in connection with the dismantled conglomerate's huge financial scams. Although the allegations have been proven to be true, the Korean government is not making efforts to bring Kim home. About one month ago, the Korean news broadcasted pictures of Kim leisurely playing golf somewhere in sunny California, although he seems to have moved now either to Europe, Morocco or Sudan. The Arrest Squad sent its members to Europe on the 23rd, in search for the 'fugitive' and force him to come home and face the charges. The Joint Struggle Headquarters have made contact with the International Metallic Workers Federation for assistance, and have sent multi-lingual 'Wanted' posters to foreign organizations and unions. The 'Wanted' not only aims at the arrest of Kim but also for the confiscation of the wealth he had illegally accumulated and to publicize the collaboration of the Kim Dae-Jung government. Their objective of arresting Kim is really symbolic - they will be meeting with various anti neo-liberal groups and trade unions to call for international solidarity.

The struggle continues as the Joint Struggle Headquarters has organized daily demonstrations. The struggle is gaining strength as more and more workers, students, and activists are joining the demonstrations. The struggle moved to Seoul today, as about 3000 participants gathered to denounce the government's actions. Protestors threw rocks and molotov cocktails at police, again engaging in violent and intense clashes with police, which have become routine during the past week. The oppression from the government is also becoming more severe, as police have outlawed all demonstrations in the Bu-pyung area and dozens have been arrested during the demonstrations. We will keep you updated on the results of the struggles.

Your solidarity and interest would be a great help to the workers' struggle in Korea.
Please send your words of solidarity to the Daewoo Motors Joint Struggle Headquarters

The Daewoo Struggle is still continuing (March 19, 2001)
More information on the Daewoo Struggle:

anti IMF-WB-WTO struggles in South Korea | Actions against Globalization | (archives) |