Riot police break up sit-down strike at South Korean auto parts plant
South Korean riot police break up a sit-down strike at an auto parts plant on Tuesday.
May 24th, 2011
09:41 AM ET

Riot police break up sit-down strike at South Korean auto parts plant

Riot police backed by helicopters and water cannons broke up a sit-down strike by union workers Tuesday at an auto parts plant in South Korea, media there reported.

The strike at the Yoosung Enterprise factory in Asan threatens to cripple production at Hyundai, Kia, GM and Renault plants in South Korea, The Korea Times reported.

Hyundai and Kia get 70% of their engine components from Yoosung, according to the Korea Times.

Hyundai, Korea's largest automaker, already has suspended production of the Tucson ix sport utility vehicle, and its subsidiary Kia has idled a line that makes the Carnival minivan, the Korea Times reported.

The company locked out workers after wage negotiations broke down after 11 rounds, Yonhap News Agency reported. About 500 strikers then entered and occupied the plant until the police moved in Tuesday; no violence was reported.

"Although the management closed the factory, the union leaders mobilized union members to illegally occupy the factory and barred other employees from entering their offices," an official at the Asan police station told Yonhap.

The Korea Confederation of Trade Unions condemned the police raid.

"Law enforcement authorities refused to follow law and order by sending riot police into the plant," the statement said. "... We will fight along with unionized workers of Yoosung Enterprise to the end until we achieve our goals."

The labor group said it will work to force South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to step down.

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Filed under: Auto Industry • General Motors • Hyundai • South Korea
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Sutler

    If someone had only remembered to bring enough chairs for this high stakes game of musical chairs, this catastrophe could have been avoided.

    May 24, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Mohsen

      I would love to win an Ipad because I need one. I'm in high shoocl and quite frankly I have 0 friends. Bringing my laptop to shoocl every day is getting tough and during my lunches I would like to maybe chill out, read some E-books. Maybe make some music on garage band and help the time pass. Who knows. Maybe even then a few people will talk to me because I'd be one of those cool kids with an Apple Ipad.

      March 14, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. citizen

    Workers have no rights or bargaining power. The same is true in this country.
    The cracks in the facade are spreading. It wil soon be time for the good people of the United States to unite against deplorable living and working conditions foisted on them by big business, government and the super rich.

    May 24, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Jean Paul Sartre

      IF only we could find about 100 million more people like you in the USA, we just MIGHT have a real chance of realizing the full potential of DEMOCRACY...

      May 24, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Skynet

      Hey Im not trying to stick up for corporate America, but what deplorable living and working conditions?

      May 24, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ellis

    I'm a woman, trapped in a man's body. I was born a male, and I hate it!

    May 24, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  4. bobcat2u

    Looks like they were playing " Ring Around The Rosie ", and they all fell down.

    May 24, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mr. Burns


    May 24, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  6. popeye

    Deplorable working conditions is that like when you work all week and pay bills , pay for gas and buy house hold stuff and then don't have two nickels to rub together afterwards ?

    May 24, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Popeye, u have no idea what deplorable conditions are. Deplorable working conditions are working more hours than here we can even imagine, with no benefits, earning CENTS a day. But unluckily, here many people don't know about the real world, and think its outrageous to pay rent and bills and have nothing left. I'm pretty sure you pay groceries, bills, rent, and a car payment. Deplorable conditions are not even close to what WE have here, and I must stand a stupid pig yelling all day long. So stop complaining, and start to enjoy our beautiful and loved America.

      May 24, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Taco Joe

    Yeah. Here in mexico we cant even hardly afford tacos or burritos anymore. They say its all because of the gas prices but i dont know. I think they are sending all the good jobs over to america.

    May 24, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. pmk1953

    When Uncle Ronnie fired the air traffic controllers, I told my local USWA members that every union worker in the country should walk out for 24 hours. If that didn't work, we should do like the european unions and walk 'til we got the desired results. I was told that we had ours, screw them. I often woder how different this country would be if we peons all stuck together.

    May 24, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. im smart

    Wouldnt be any difference they would tell you your services are no longer needed. .then you would whine oooh nooo my union never said this would happen!!

    May 24, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Cricket

    The South Korean government is well sponsored by Washington. It is not surprising that the brutality that Lee Myung endorses is backed up by the right-wing thugs in Washington. It's as simple as that!

    May 25, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. Philip if there were no such thing as a left-wing thug. Get a clue. Orwell's pigs have united.

    May 25, 2011 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ahkmed, terror guy

    In Arab land Chinese lands, unions are recogized for what they are: organized extortionists. "Pay me this or I will strike you". USians are behind the times in this area, but it looks like they are trying to catch up!

    May 25, 2011 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |