Migrant Trade Union (MTU) president Michel Catuira is facing visa cancellation and possible deportation from South Korea. On February 10, the Korean Immigration Service issued a number of measures against Catuira. These included the cancellation of his visa and a departure order to leave the country by March 7. It also threatened him with forcible deportation to his home country of the Philippines.
On January 3, 170 cleaners and security guards at Hongik University in Seoul were sacked for forming a union and demanding better conditions. The workers formed a union on December 1 and demanded decent working conditions. Since their sacking, the workers have held a sit-in protest at the university campus — eating and sleeping on the cold, hard floors of the Munheon Building. Hongik University is South Korea’s most famous university for visual arts. Many graduates are showing their support for the workers through their art work.
For the South Korean left, the April 9 general election was another fiasco following the presidential election last December, in which the election of Lee Myung-bak brought forth the return of the conservative government. Democratic Labor Party (DLP) candidate Kwon Young-gil received just 3%, less than the previous result in 2002 a drop of 300,000 votes.
The South Korean anti-war movement is appealing for support in its campaign demanding the right to hold an anti-war demonstration on March 17, as part of the global weekend of action on the anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq. The government has banned the protest. Korean Action against Dispatch of Troops to Iraq, an anti-war coalition comprising 351 organisations, is calling on international anti-war and pro-democracy groups to send letters of protest to, and organise demonstrations outside of, the South Korean consulate or embassy in your country. Messages of solidarity can be sent to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
An estimated 80,000 car workers in South Korea are on strike. Workers from Daewoo initiated the walk-out to protest the proposed sale of their company to a foreign monopoly.