Korean Confederation of Trade Unions

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KCTU logo.png
Full name Korean Confederation of Trade Unions
Founded 11 November 1995
Members 682,418 (2007)
Country South Korea
Affiliation ITUC
Key people Kim Young-Hoon, president
Office location Seoul, South Korea
Website www.kctu.org (English)
www.nodong.org (Korean)
Korean Confederation of Trade Unions
Hangul 전국민주노동조합총연맹
Hanja 全國民主勞動組合總連盟
Revised Romanization Jeon-guk Minju Nodong Johap Chongyeonmaeng
McCune–Reischauer Chn'guk Minju Nodong Chohap Ch'ongynmaeng

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), also known as Minju-nochong (Korean: 민주노총; acronym for KCTU in Korean language) is a national trade union centre officially established in 1995. Its predecessor was the National Council of Trade Unions (NCTU), established in 1990 as an independent alternative to the Federation of Korean Trade Unions. With 682,418 members in 2007, the KCTU accounted for 40.6% of trade union members in South Korea.[1] The KCTU has more than 1,200 affiliated enterprise-level trade unions.[2] It is the second largest trade union national center in South Korea, following the Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU). On 1 April 2009, KCTU delegates at a special session elected Lim Seong-kyu as President.[3] Of the two, the KCTU is generally considered to be the more militant.

In 2008, during massive "mad cow protests" the KCTU declared a general strike to protest the import of US beef on grounds that consuming the allegedly tainted beef could damage worker productivity.[4]

In 2009, the union came under intense criticism for its cover up of the attempted sexual assault of a female union member by a high ranking union leader.[5][6] The KCTU's perceived militancy and preoccupation with political matters unrelated to working conditions has also caused it to suffer a loss of members.[7]

In July 2009, the KCTU was ordered to pay for the damages incurred from its destruction of 11 police vehicles during a violent rally two years previously.[8]

2013 police raid[edit]

In 22 December 2013, hundreds of riot police raided the KCTU's headquarters in Seoul injuring hundreds. Six senior KCTU leaders were arrested for supporting a national railway strike which the government declared "illegal". According to the International Trade Union Confederation and the International Transport Workers’ Federation: "The government of South Korea and its anti-union behaviour is again in the spotlight of the international community. Its actions run contrary to its obligations to the ILO and also the labour standards in trade agreements with the US and the EU. Further, the government is failing to fulfill its original commitment to the OECD, upon accession, to respect international labour standards."[9]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Unionization rate in 2007 stands at 10.8 percent first upward move in 18 years Korea International Labour Foundation, 19 September 2008. Accessed 2009-04-09.
  2. ^ This is KCTU KCTU English webpage. Accessed 2009-04-09.
  3. ^ KCTU elects a new president The Hankyoreh, 2 April 2009. Accessed 2009-04-09.
  4. ^ South Korea seeks top labour leader's arrest
  5. ^ Truth behind sexual assault cover-up at KCTU revealed
  6. ^ Four resign in KCTU sexual assault scandal
  7. ^ 4 unions cut ties with KCTU, citing unnecessary strife
  8. ^ Court orders labor body to pay for destroyed police buses
  9. ^ Korean Police Attack KCTU Headquarters