FNV Congress – What the Flex ! And trade union award to jailed Korean unionist Han Sang-Gyun

(15 May 2017) Young and United showed the success of their innovative style of campaigning at the Congress of FNV.  The youth group of the Dutch confederation has ended the minimum wage for young workers of 21-23 years after 41 years of struggle. These workers now get the normal minimum wage. The direct actions and other high profile demonstrations  at shareholders meetings,  on the streets and in the Dutch Parliament captured the injustice done and captivated young workers and the public. The Parliament abolished the youth minimum wages. The Youth group is now working on a campaign to deal with precarious and flexible jobs.  Over 50% of young workers under 30years has a temporary or even zero-hour contract.

The campaign of the young workers was one of many organizing examples highlighted at the Congress. Other successes of more direct forms of actions and campaigning included the success for a homecare workers, to improve pay and conditions for police and to bring 2500 outsourced cleaning jobs back in the public administration. Congress elected a new Board, Daily Executive and set priorities for the coming years such as organizing and recruitment. European and international work took a large place.

FNV gave its trade union award to Han Sang-gyun.

He is the President of the South Korea union confederation KCTU. He is in jail and arrested for standing up for workers rights. KCTU sought to prevent the government from adopting neoliberal labour reforms. He organized protests against the corrupt president Park and her government. She got impeached and is now in jail. The prize was handed to KCTU vice-president Lee Sang Jin.  Han has been in prison in the Chuncheon Correction Centre since December 2015.  He is sentenced to three years. The prize is named after Salvadoran union leader Febe Elizabeth Velásquez (1962-1989). She was murdered for her trade union activity.

For earlier reports on Korea

For information

Korean people elected a new president: Moon Jae-in following the protests of the KCTU and others

For the expectations of the KCTU

And those of KPTU, the public sector affiliate of KCTU

  • EPSU General Secretary and FGTB President R. de Leeuw at FNV Congress May 2017