The all-out strike at Honam Shani (SPC) at the Freight Solidarity Headquarters of the Public Transport Workers’ Union is being sold through the media as a struggle for interests due to the conflict between labor and labor. It misleads the situation with provocative titles such as ‘bread lost in the struggle for rights of the Confederation of Trade Unions’ and ‘bread riot’ at Paris Baguette. In response, the Cargo Solidarity Headquarters urged the cessation of union-destroying operations in front of the Honam Shani Gwangju factory on September 16 and a resolution before Chuseok.
In January, Honam Shani (SPC) freight workers who suffered from excessive workload demanded an increase in the number of workers to reduce working hours and intensity. Gwangju SPC’s volume more than doubled compared to 10 years ago, but for cost reduction reasons, the number of freight workers remained the same, so the work intensity doubled in the last 10 years. Accordingly, the SPC branch of the Gwangju Regional Headquarters of the Cargo Solidarity requested the improvement of the working conditions of the freight workers by increasing the number of cars, even at the cost of some losses, in order to reduce working hours and work intensity. However, the management insisted that it was unacceptable to the demands of the cargo solidarity and imposed poor working conditions on the cargo workers.
The Cargo Solidarity made concessions once again and accepted the arbitration plan of the 11 major transport companies in Gwangju, but SPC turned it around and unilaterally forced the plan unfavorable to the Cargo Solidarity members only. The shipping company suggested to SPC that it be enforced as the most reasonable plan, but it was ignored. The reality is that the SPC head office has made up the agreement a number of times over the years of hard work and is misrepresenting it as if it was a confrontation between the Confederation of Trade Unions and the KCTU Freight Solidarity. They are viciously oppressing the union, threatening to fire all union members and claim huge amounts of compensation.
The exploitation of labor and the suppression of unions in Gwangju are not only problems of Gwangju SPC freight workers. SPC Group, despite being a huge corporation with a nationwide distribution network and hundreds of stores, has been exploiting freight workers to cut costs. In order to improve poor treatment and work safely and humanely, freight workers from all over the country, including Seoul, Gyeonggi, Gangwon, Busan, Chungbuk, and Daegyeong, gathered as a cargo solidarity and demanded improvements in working conditions and fair rates. It promises to improve treatment only at the moment of declaration, and has been ignoring the fair demands of the labor union by breaking the agreement before the ink is dry.
Shortly after the establishment of the SPC branch of the Cargo Solidarity, a union affiliated with the Korean Federation of Trade Unions was established. SPC, which earned time by repeatedly violating the agreement, has been preparing for the crackdown on the members of the cargo solidarity in order to neutralize the cargo union by abusing the plural union system.
As soon as the struggle began, the SPC fired the members of the SPC branch of the Gwangju Freight Solidarity, who went on strike, and threatened to claim a huge amount of compensation from the SPC freight workers across the country who participated in the strike. .
The SPC’s suppression of unions is not new at all. The SPC Group has been actively using the multiple union system to suppress labor unions. The Paris Baguette and Dunkin Donuts branch, made up of bakers, also destroyed the Democrat Union by forcing new employees to join the Confederation of Trade Unions, constantly urging them to leave the Confederation of Trade Unions, and penalizing the union members. What is happening now at the SPC is similar to the previous union sabotage.
The Cargo Regiment said, “We warn SPC seriously. In order to reduce costs, it is not enough to impose poor working conditions on freight workers. The SPC’s atrocities of trying to shut down workers’ mouths with the pretext of dismissing freight workers who demand improved working conditions, instigating labor-labor conflicts and claiming huge compensation for damages will never be tolerated. The Cargo Solidarity will take this opportunity to eradicate the vicious labor exploitation and union oppression of the SPC, which enforces poor working conditions and abuses the plural union system to block workers’ mouths and force them to live as slaves, even if it means stopping logistics across the country.” said
“I also strongly warn some conservative media who dictate the management’s position without verifying the facts. The development of the distribution industry has been achieved by freight workers who work all night long. “Under the company’s cost-reduction policy, we will no longer condone the continued misrepresentation of the struggles of freight workers who are constantly on the road without sleeping at night, suffering from insecurity in their livelihood.”
Lastly, “Right now, the oppression of the Gwangju Police against workers is going beyond that limit. To date, the number of performers has reached 30. If you look at the process of the arrest, they say that they are unconditionally a current offender and are being arrested recklessly. Even the plainclothes arrest squad has been sent in to specify the subject to be arrested and is being mercilessly detained. It is showing more violent and illegal behavior than any other police in the past. This is the appearance of Commissioner Kim Jun-cheol, who was newly appointed as the new Gwangju Police Agency Commissioner in July. The attitude of the police during the arrest process is very threatening and coercive. Even those who protest are threatened or threatened with arrest. In addition, while talking about the quarantine law, you can see a commander who conducts the field without even wearing a mask. The Gwangju Police Department is playing the role of faithful observation, acting at the behest of the management, in the struggle for workers’ right to live. In labor-management issues, the police once again urge them to remain neutral. No more arresting our comrades. In the future, we will take legal action against all these illegal acts of the police.”