South Korean police battle striking workers

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Police raided the SsangYong Motor Company's plant in South Korea today, in order to evict workers who have been occupying the plant since May in protest of proposed layoffs. Most of the workers were those who were previously fired for opposing layoffs.

100–400 police officers raided the auto plant south of Seoul at around 10:00 a.m. (local time). Police intended to evict some 600 striking workers who, according to a union representing the workers, "will fight to the death should police forcefully break up the occupation." Workers at the plant are resisting police by attacking them with slingshots, metal pipes and molotov cocktails.

During the raid, two unnamed workers fell from the four story building while trying to stop the police from landing onto the roof from cargo containers dropped by helicopter. Both sustained injuries, with one in critical condition from the amount of blood he lost.

SsangYong Motor Company has been in court-approved bankruptcy since February and is planning on laying off a third of its workforce to stay in business. However, workers say the company should provide a better proposal regarding the layoffs as well as a more reasonable compensation package for workers being laid off. The situation has caused the company to lose more than US$184 million in output.


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