Teachers joined hundreds of thousands of other South Korean workers on the streets in the capital Seoul last Friday (24th April). The protesters are demanding a decent minimum wage, pensions and the repeal of anti-union labour laws. Strikers' leaders say that an even more determined struggle is needed if they are not to be turned into slaves, with the new laws meaning that it will be easier to sack workers and that more and more would be hired on a precarious basis.

Public servants and teachers in particular have been threatened for taking part in the strike, with the government declaring it illegal. Morevoer they have threatened to take legal action against all those taking part. The Korean Teachers Union (KTU) responded: 'Current law bans teachers from taking part in collective action. Without it, teachers only have limited options to express their opinions. The government is violating the human rights of teachers by banning us from rightfully taking a leave of absence to participate in a rally.'

We have been reporting the struggle for union rights for teachers for many years in the country. Teachers have seen their leaders arrested and their union assets seized in the last period. The present government of President Park Geun-Hye has stepped up the attacks and the protesters are demanding her resignation.

Thousands of members of the KTU were expected to take part in last Friday's protest with more joining rallies on Saturday against public sector pension 'reform'.

Interestingly the KTU has just won a court case against a former Korean intelligence chief who branded it as an 'organisation full of North Korean sympathisers.'