Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Right to Collective Action

17 July 1948
Voting for the South Korean Constitutional Assembly Election, May 1948; photo Library of Congress Collection (Wikimedia Commons)
LofC Digital Photo Id cph.3b13550

In South Korea, workers' strike is among the labour rights stipulated in and protected by the Constitution, which was enacted on 17 July 1948. Article 33 gives workers a constitutional right to independent association, collective bargaining and collective action. Until democratization in 1987, there was a wide gap between the statutes and the reality, as the state often obstructed or suppressed labour unions' legitimate strike action by police force and intelligence corps. Moreover, in 1972-73 the National Security Act banned strikes altogether and prolonged trhe dictatorship of president Park.

Read more? Byoung-Hoon Lee, 'Militant Unionism in Korea' in: Strikes around the World, 1968-2005 (Amsterdam 2007)