||Issue No. 138||31 May 2002|
Interview: The Star Chamber
Politics: The Odd Couple
Media: Audiences Before Politics
International: The Off-Side Rule
Economics: The Fake Persuaders
History: Terror Tactics
Poetry: Food, Modified Food
Review: Spiderman Spins Out the US
Satire: England's World Cup Disaster: Star Hooligan Breaks Foot
The Locker Room
Week in Review
In Defence of Latham
Swans A Pathetic Con-Job
The Off-Side Rule
After all the FIFA World Cup stirs the passions of millions around the globe once every four years - why not try to direct some of that passion in support of workers rights.
Workers Online readers can also take part in these campaigns - in between barracking for a favourite soccer side.
Global unions today launched a campaign highlighting the Korean Government's abuse of worker rights with a poster emblazoned Our Team Won't Be At The World Cup.
The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), together with the International Metalworkers Federation, Public Services International and the two Korean national trade union centres, launched the month-long global campaign which culminates with a global day of action on 27 June.
Meanwhile campaigners against the use of child labour have also launched their World Cup Campaign 2002.
They have got a new website pointing out that in the shadows of your favourite soccer games there are thousands of children spending their precious childhood stitching footballs, unable to receive an education.
The International Campaign Backing Korean Workers
The clever Korean campaign for workers rights puts the spotlight on a football team photo which - instead of soccer stars - highlights the faces of worker activists who have been jailed by the Seoul regime.
The poster explains that about 30 people are locked up, and many more wanted for arrest in Korea for trade union activities which are within everyone's basic human rights.
They are being treated as criminals because they have tried to form trade unions, have sought to protect workers' rights or have joined peaceful demonstrations.
The current President of Korea the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kim Dae-jung - is often touted as the Mandela of Asia for his democracy movement activities - but he has overseen the imprisonment of over 700 trade unionists since the beginning of his presidency in 1998.
Some of the facts being used to back up this campaign include :
ï¿½ Under Kim Dae-jung industrial disputes are often violently repressed by unnecessarily provocative and disproportionately brutal police action.
ï¿½ Over 200 trade unionists were incarcerated last year for actions. Currently, around 30 trade unionists are languishing in South Korean jails. These include Dan Byung-ho, President of the Korean Congress of Trade Unions (KCTU).
ï¿½ The majority in prison were arrested for leading or participating in strikes or peaceful demonstrations, seeking to protect workers' rights or attempting to set up trade unions. Approximately 40 others are on the Korean authorities' 'wanted' list.
ï¿½ 2002 has witnessed a surge in industrial unrest in the country. With privatisation costing thousands of jobs, Korean unions have been forced to react. 7398 workers in the rail industry alone lost their jobs in 2001.
ï¿½ The President of the Korean Railworkers Union, Kim Jae-ghil, is in prison.
ï¿½ In February this year, supported widely in both private and public sectors, 5000 workers at thermal power plants affiliated with the state utility, Korea Electric Power Corporation went on strike. 342 workers were fired as a result.
ï¿½ A further series of strikes began again on 22 May in which 40,000 workers from sectors including metal, health and transport took part. The strikes are being held in reaction to some of the harshest working conditions in the industrialised world including long hours, low pay and a 6-day week.
You can show your support for this campaign by copying a draft protest letter and find out more by going straight to the campaign's centre on the web, here:
Global March against Child Labour
The FIFA World Cup is an international sporting event which stirs the passion of millions of people around the world once every 4 years.
However, in the shadows of this festivity, thousands of children are losing their precious childhood, stitching footballs that may be used for such sporting events.
No chance to go to school or to play, they are denied the opportunity of growing up dreaming of a future without stitching. Instead, they work day and night stitching the dreams of others.
Thousands of adults are also exploited as cheap labour to produce sporting goods used in official matches and merchandise sold in stores around the world.
While they are paid much less than the minimum wage, it is inevitable that their children are required to start working alongside them at early age in order to support the family.
Exactly one year away from the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Japan and Korea, the World Cup Campaign 2002 was kicked off with a 14 year-old former football stitcher from India, appealing to the world to help her friends be able to go to school and play instead of stitching footballs.
The World Cup Campaign 2002 demands FIFA to make the World Cup and the sport of football, fair in its labour practice and free of child labour.
Their promise to make all FIFA licensed products fair must be kept with a transparent monitoring system in place.
However, making football a fair game is not solely the responsibility of one organization. All 250 million football players, 2 billion football fans, and the rest of the world must come together to bring out the best in the game!
Join the World Cup Campaign 2002! Take Action Now!
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