Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

South Koreans mark May Day with rally, North-South soccer

South Koreans mark May Day with rally, North-South soccer

South Korean workers marked May Day with a rally denouncing a free trade agreement with the United States, while laborers from North and South Korea played a soccer match.
Police estimated that about 7,000 workers held a peaceful gathering on a street in a Seoul university district, carrying banners and shouting slogans against the labor and trade policies of President Roh Moo-hyun.
Labor unions are angry at Roh for pushing the free trade deal, which they say will cost jobs and harm livelihoods, as well as for labor policies they say encourage companies to utilize part-time workers instead of hiring permanent staff.
"South Korean workers came out today to rally against the increase in part-time work and the insecurity in finding a job due to the South Korea-U.S. FTA," Heo Young-koo, vice president of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, said, referring to the free trade agreement, reached last month in Seoul. Legislatures in both countries must approve the pact before it takes effect.
The 800,000-member strong KCTU is one of two major umbrella labor organizations in South Korea and is generally considered more militant than the rival Federation of Korean Trade Unions.
Some at the rally carried placards with the president's photo and the words "Roh Moo-hyun, step down."
Separately, representatives of South and North Korean labor unions held a festival marking May Day in Changwon, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) southeast of Seoul.
Officials from North Korea's General Federation of Trade Unions marched into a stadium with several hundred members of KCTU and FKTU carrying flags with a white background and a blue image of the Korean peninsula.
The flags are used by the divided Koreas when they participate as one team in international sporting events.
About 60 North Koreans participated.
About 2,000 people watched workers from the two sides play soccer at the stadium.
___
APTN producer Julie Choi in Seoul and AP photographer Jin-man Lee in Changwon contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-06-21 13:07 GMT+08:00