S. Korea rail workers strike

SEOUL, South Korea – Rail and power workers here ended a two-day strike Feb. 27. The stirke had shut down state-controlled railroad and electrical generation stations. The strikers were demanding fewer work hours and were opposing a government privatization plan.

The government responded to the strike by declaring it illegal and issuing arrest warrants for 36 union leaders. The government said the union did not heed a mandatory 15-day cooling-off period, as ordered by the Central Labor Arbitrary Commission.

On Feb. 26, thousands of troops surrounded two university campuses sheltering union activists. Strike leaders were granted sanctuary at a Roman Catholic church in downtown Seoul.

The auto and machinist’s unions announced that they would shut down those private industries in solidarity with the rail and power workers.

After overnight negotiations, an agreement was reached, the terms of which were not announced.