The two major trade unions are demanding the government take measures to preserve the statue of forced laborers erected in Yongsan Station Square in Seoul.
According to the labor community on the 25th, the two major trade unions have proposed to the government a protective measure to return the workers’ statues to the state through the donation method. Awaiting a government response.
Yongsan Station was the place where Joseon workers who had been forcibly conscripted during the Japanese colonial period gathered. The two major labor unions installed a worker statue in the Yongsan Station Square, a state-owned land, in July 2017 to commemorate the forced laborers and look back on the painful history. The installation process was not smooth, with the Park Geun-hye administration opposing it on the grounds that Korea-Japan relations were strained.
Even after being settled in Yongsan Station, the statue of workers is going through ups and downs. Since private organization facilities cannot be installed on state land, the two major labor unions are being charged compensation from the Korea Railroad Authority. As of August of this year, it is around 200 million won. In September, a drunken man in his 50s broke the pickaxe of a worker’s statue by kicking it.
The two major trade unions are of the view that the government should come up with measures so that workers’ statues can be safely managed. An official from the KCTU said, “If the workers’ statue is donated and owned by the state, the controversy over illegal facilities can be put to rest. An official from the Korean Federation of Trade Unions said, “Four years after its establishment, the social consensus that the place where the statue will be located seems to have been solidified. ” he ordered.
The two major trade unions hold a press conference in front of the government complex in Seoul on the morning of the 26th, urging the government for measures to protect workers’ compensation.