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Korea to throw out migrant union leader

Trades unionists say the order is an attack on organized labor

Michel Catuira, chairman of the Migrants' Trade Union, protests in front of the Seoul immigration office Michel Catuira, chairman of the Migrants' Trade Union, protests in front of the Seoul immigration office
  • John Won, Seoul
  • Korea
  • February 18, 2011
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The Seoul immigration office has ordered a Filipino migrant workers' union leader to leave the country.

The Joint Committee with Migrants in Korea (JCMK) held a press conference to denounce the cancellation of Michel Catuira's work permit and the order for departure in front of the immigration office.

It argued that Catuira, the JCMK chairman, is a legal immigrant worker and the official measure is a targeted act of oppression against labor union activity.

The immigration office had handed an official statement to his lawyer, saying that he is not working now and the company does not exist, therefore cancelling his permit and requiring him to leave before March 7.

JCMK countered: "Michel legally obtained the work permits and reported it by the law. It only turned out that the company was temporally closed and it was clear that the business existed when he was hired."

JCMK plans to press the immigration office and show solidarity with international groups like the International Labor Organization, Amnesty International and others.

Andrew Kim Duck-jin, secretary general of the Catholic Human Rights Committee said his committee will issue a joint statement together with other human rights groups.

Kim said, "Korean government has denied a migrants' trade union and the official measures should be denounced as a clearly targeted oppression against Catuira."

Catuira started work painting cars when he came to Korea from the Philippines in January 2006. He became involved in the trade union movement to help his friend who was allegedly dismissed unfairly in October 2007 and he became president of JCMK in July 2009.

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´Catholics Should Take Initiative In Migrant Issues´

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