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Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide

Union Victory at Hotel Riviera in Korea

Posted to the IUF website 04-Mar-2006

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Eighteen months of difficult struggle backed by international support have brought a landmark victory for the Hotel Riviera Workers´┐Ż Union in their struggle for trade union rights at the Yuseong Hotel Riviera in Daejeon City. The union, a member of the IUF-affiliated Korean Federation of Private Service Workers Unions (KFSU), reached agreement with the owners on February 28 to reopen the hotel and reinstate the 206 union members to their original positions.

On August 31, 2004, the Shinan Group claimed bankruptcy, closed the hotel and dismissed all union members after failing to break the union's bargaining strength and membership support through harassment, lockouts and other anti-union measures it applied since acquiring the property in 2001.

As part of its campaign to fight back, the union challenged the fraudulent bankruptcy, filing charges with the regional Labour Relations Commission and successfully proving that the contrived closure was a short-term measure intended to bust the union. The ruling was upheld last year by the National Labour Relations Commission. Since that time, the union has been struggling to have the decisons enforced through a sustained and disciplined campaign including street demonstrations, political action and the night-time occupation of the hotel facilities.

The union did not win its demand for full financial compensation for income lost during the closure, but the settlement provides an immediate cash payment to each reinstated union member of some 3,000 USD, and regularizes the employment status of the contract workers. Most importantly, it establishes a legal precedent to prevent closures motivated by employers' hostility to industrial relations based on union recognition and collective bargaining.

Remodeling work has already begun in preparation for the reopening, which could be as early as July. In the course of the long struggle at the Hotel Riviera, the IUF secretariat intervened with the regional and national Labour Relations Commissions, urging them to uphold the law and defend trade union rights, and organized a mass message campaign to press the government to implement the decision of the National Labour Relations Commission. The union has thanked the secretariat, IUF affiliates and all those who showed their solidarity with this long struggle.