• UPDATE : 2019.7.18 목 08:00
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[labor news] 'Withdrawal of damage lawsuits and government apology' need for healing of the victimized Ssangyong Motor workers
▲ Kim Deuk-joong(first from left), head of the Korean Metal Workers' Union(KMWU) Ssangyong Motor Local, Choi Johng-sik(second), chief executive officer of Ssangyong Motor, Hong Bong-seok(third), head of Ssangyong Motor Labor Union, and Moon Sung-hyun, chairman of the Economic, Social and Labor Council join hands after signing an agreement to reinstate the remaining 119 workers laid off in 2009 on September 13 at the Economic, Social and Labor Council. (Jeong Ki-hoon/The Labor Today)

As the labor and the management of Ssangyong Motor had finally reached an agreement to reinstate all of the remaining dismissed workers, attention is now being paid if the government and the management would drop the damage lawsuits filed against the workers. A couple of issues still remain to be resolved through the probe into the allegation of a judicial bargaining in the decision of the Supreme Court on the case of Ssangyong Motor layoff and an apology from the government for the state violence to crack down on the striking workers at Ssangyong Motor in 2009.

According to the labor circle, the amount of 11.47 billion won(US$10.2 million) was claimed for the damage compensation against the Korean Metal Workers' Union and its Ssangyong Motor Local relating the strike in protest of the restructuring of Ssangyong Motor in 2009. The management filed a damage lawsuit of 10 billion won(US$8.98 million) against the Korean Metal Workers' Union, and the police filed damage lawsuits of 1.47 billion won(US$1.3 million) against the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU), Korean Metal Workers' Union(KMWU) and KMWU's Ssangyong Local, and its 101 union members.

The management dropped its damage lawsuit against the union members of Ssangyong Motor Local in 2016 when the labor and the management reached an agreement for a phased reinstatement of dismissed workers. However, the lawsuit against the labor union is still in the legal process, pending at the Seoul High Court. The first trial court made a verdict to order the union to pay for the damage of 3.3 billion won(US$2.93 million).

The lawsuits filed by the police for the damages of police equipments and injuries are likely to be resolved without great difficulty. The first trial ruled the union members to pay the compensation to the state with an amount of 1.37 billion won(US$1.22 million) and the second trial ruled with an amount of 1.1289 billion won(US$1 million). The wages and retirement pays of 67 union members and the properties of 22 union members had been put under provisional attachment.

An internal human rights violation case fact-finding committee of the National Police Agency has recommended last month to drop the lawsuit against the labor union and the union members, saying that "although the execution of police force had also incurred considerable damages upon the union members, no measures had been taken for the damage recovery and the period of prescription has run out." This recommendation may likely provide the government with a pretext to drop the case.

President Moon Jae-in has also showed his strong interest, high enough to meet Arnand Mahindra, chairman of Mahindra Group, the majority shareholder of Ssangyong Motor to resolve the Ssangyong hardship, when he paid a state visit to India in July this year.

reported by Kim Hak-tae
translated by Kim Sung-jin

번역 김성진  goyong1472@gmail.com

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