Friday, 13 April 2018


Kim Jong Un, the Supreme Leader of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, presented a letter to the 7th Congress of the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea, on October 25th, 2016, outlining the tasks of the Korean Trade Unionists in the effort to build up a Thriving Socialist Nation on the soil of the DPRK. Trade Unions came into being as the basic organisations defending the rudimentary interests of the working people. The Functions of Trade Unions are different in capitalist and socialist societies, under capitalism they are of an antagonistic nature and under socialism, they are of cooperative origin.

The evolution of the modern concept of Trade Unionism can be traced back to the early 18th century. Due to the Industrial Revolution, Trade Unionism first came about in Britain, in the form of the General Union of Trades in 1818, and in 1868 the Trades Union Congress was organised. Trade Unions are the first examples of basic social-political collectives advocating social-economic independence for working people. From the Tolpuddle Martyrs in 1834 to the Great Miners' Strike of 1984/85, the working class have fought their rights and interests. In the 21st century Britain the Labour Movement is still struggling for improved wages and conditions and against Anti-Trade Unions Legatiation. A Juche based perspective would assist our Trade Unions to achieve a great deal in the fight for proletarian liberation.

Trade Unions in Korea were set up in the 1920s and were an integral part of the Anti-Japanese National Liberation Struggle as well as dealing with immediate economic demands.The first mass Labour organisation was founded in Seoul in April 1920, under the title of the Workers' Mutual Society of Korea. Later on in 1924, the Korean Federation of Workers' and Peasants' was formed. Between 1920 and 1930, there were over 330 strikes, including the Pusan General Strike of 1921. Most of the Korean workers had to labour for 12 hours and over under Japanese colonial rule and were paid one-third of the wages received by the Japanese employees. Korean workers were subjected to maltreatment by the Japanese Imperialists and were regarded as mere commodities for maximum exploitation. Korean Trade unionists played their part in the national liberation struggle with strikes and sabotage in the industrial centres of Pyongyang, Seoul, Chongjin and Pusan. By 1943, alone there were 174 strikes involving as many as 9,661 workers.

In south Korea, the Labour Movement battled for elementary rights such as wage rises, improvements in working conditions and the right to collective bargaining. The Unions in south Korea carried on the fight against the Labour Standard Law and the Labour Adjustment Law other such legislation, so as to promote freedom for independent Trade Unionism. It was down to the actions of Trade Unionists that the regimes of Chun Do Won and Roh Tae Woo were brought down in the 1980s and today the south Korean Trade Unions are struggling against the corrupting influence of the Chaebols. Both major Trade Unions Conferations in south Korea are heavily engaged in the campaign for the peaceful independent reunification of Korea.

In June 1946, Kim IL Sung proclaimed the first ever Labour Law in Korean history. The Labour Law made the working day eight hours long. established equal pay between men and women, proper payment for piece rates paid leave and pensions. In Keeping with the changed circumstances of the realisation of socialism, The Socialist Labour Law was introduced into the DPRK in April 1978.

Kim Jong Un in his letter to the Korean Trade Unionists paid tribute to the heroism of the Korean working class. It was the workers of the DPRK who established the Munitions Industry from scratch, rebuild the devasted country after the Korean War (1950-53) under the banner of Chollima and constructed a self-reliant socialist industrial state. The working class of the DPRK overcame the trials of the Forced March and Arduous March during the late 1990s, so as to defend and consolidate socialism. Now the working class of Kim IL Sung and of Kim Jong IL are modelling the whole society on the principles of the Juche Idea and of the Songun Politics, leading the DPRK to greater prosperity.

In his letter of October 25th, 2016, Kim Jong Un stated that the Kim IL Sung understood the importance of the position and role of the working class in the revolution and construction. Kim Jong IL always paid attention to the development of Trade Unions within the DPRK. The General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTUK) was founded on November 30th, 1945 and consists of all the affiliated Trade Unions in People Korea. By its inauguration, the GFTUK was a milestone in the history of the Korean working class movement. The GFTUK became a member of the World Federation of Trade Unions in 1947 and the GFTUK publishes a magazine called "Worker". After the victory of the Anti-Japanese Revolution, the slogan "Factories To The Workers" came to symbolize the nationalization of major industries in Democratic Korea.
Kim Jong Un in his letter refers to the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea as a being a powerful political instrument for training its members into Kimilsungist-KimjongIlists. That the Trade Unions should promote as much as possible the ideology of Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism among their membership, and throughout the workplace and society. This may sound unusual to a Western audience, that Trade Unions are considered to be ideological bodies. In the context of the DPRK, where the working class is the ruling class, Trade Unions are serving the interests of their membership by disseminating the socialist ideology in all sectors of society. Although the Trade Unions are independent of the state, by their class nature, they are guided by the Workers' Party of Korea and uphold its ideology. For the working class to enjoy the material and ideological benefits of socialism, it must strengthen its relationship with the Workers' Party, being in opposition to socialist power would run counter to its fundamental proletarian aspirations and needs.  So the spreading of Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism by the Trade Unions consolidates the role of being the master of production and society by the working class, fortifying the leading role of the WPK and makes the positions of socialism stronger.

Kim Jong Un stressed in his address that the Trade Union organisations should be encouraged to enhance their sense of independence and creativity. The Trade Unions are active in the management of the Chongsan-ri method and the Taean Work system within the enterprises of the DPRK, bring workplace democracy and participation into place. The Taean system is a scheme under which the economy is managed in conformity with the interests of the producer masses by regarding themselves as masters of management. Under the Taean system, all issues in the enterprise are decided jointly by the Party Committee, the Trade Union Branch and the Management, with the workforce's involvement being encouraged at every level. The Taean work system is indeed a structure, where the working people exercise their rights at the workplace, the attitude of being the masters. In this respect, the Taean Work system is essentially distinguished from the forms of one-man management based on autonomy and profit-centred management. The Trade Unions in the DPRK continue to overcome bureaucracy and ensure to further the economic and social rights of working people and to improve working conditions.

Just to refer briefly to The Socialist Labour Law of 1978, with the premise that working people have the right ot work and therefore unemployment is non-existent in the DPRK. Among the rights enshrined in the Socialist Labour Law are paid holidays, free accommodation in sanatoria and rest homes, 200 days paid maternity pay, equal remuneration for both men and women, free childcare, retirement at 60 for working men and at 55 for working women, and further education up to university level. The Labour Law calls for DPRK citizens to become worthy masters of production by maintaining the communist attitude towards work in a socialist society and displaying a high degree of revolutionary spirit.

As a ruling class, the working class of the DPRK must also discharge its duties and responsibilities, Kim Jong Un rallied the GFTUK to the tasks of strengthening the country's defence capability, developing the economy and promoting the people's well being. Taking up the mantle of the Mallima Riders, workers in the DPRK have carried out innovations in the economy, science, public health and in other fields. The DPRK Trade Unions are organizing socialist emulation campaigns and drives, for instance, there is the effort to emulate Lathe No.26. The realization of a strong self-development potential and of the knowledge-based economy is the priority goal for the GFTUK , so as to build a prosperous and powerful socialist country. Social wealth and social relations are in hands of the workers, so it is in the interests of the working class of the DPRK to increase the collective material wealth of society. As the US progressive writer, Fred Carrier once said after visiting Socialist Korea, that the DPRK is indeed A Workers' World.

Later in his letter, Kim Jong Un urged Trade Unionists in the north of Korea to be in the vanguard of the national reunification movement. The GFTUK has always promoted solidarity and collaboration with Trade Unions in south Korea under the banner of By-Our-Nation_Itself and opened up the road to reunification. The Trade Unions of the DPRK have a proud tradition of internationalism. The GFTUK has supported the struggles of Trade Unionists around the world, including in Britain. Throughout its international activities, the GFTUK have won over many sympathizers to the cause of the Korean revolution and accelerated global independence.

Can I urge all Trade Unionists and progressive people to study and apply the work of the Dear Respected Marshal KIM JONG UN "On The Duties Of The Working Class Of Kim IL Sung and Of Kim Jong Il For The Times and the Tasks For Trade Union Organisations"!

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