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Korean Strike Spreads; Main Shipyard Closed

September 03, 1987|Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — About 13,000 striking workers occupied the nation's largest shipyard today, and some of them torched cars, destroyed office equipment and attacked a tourist hotel.

Hundreds of other strikes continued around the country after one striking shipyard worker became the second fatality of two months of labor turmoil.

Striking taxi drivers who reached a pay raise agreement in Seoul returned to work late today, but a strike leader was reported in serious condition after setting himself on fire in a dispute with management.

Daewoo, the nation's No. 2 auto maker, remained closed for the ninth day.

Shipyard Occupied

About 13,000 workers at Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. occupied the shipyard in the southern city of Ulsan after an overnight vigil at a nearby stadium to press their demands for pay raises and other benefits.

Strikers destroyed windows, typewriters, copying machines and other furniture in the shipyard's main office. They set two cars and a bus on fire and blocked a six-lane highway outside.

"Raise our pay!" the workers chanted.

All but 200 left the shipyard by nightfall, and no injuries or arrests were reported, officials said.

About 500 workers attacked the Diamond Hotel, a tourist hotel across the street from the shipyard's main gate, but were repelled by riot police firing tear-gas.

Guests Evacuated

All Korean and foreign guests staying at the 290-room hotel were asked to leave for security reasons.

Hundreds of senior Hyundai office workers and their families were evacuated from company apartments for fear of attack.

One striker, Chae Tae Chang, 45, was killed and four others were injured Wednesday night when they were run over by a truck near the public sports stadium in Ulsan. Police arrested the driver and said there was evidence that he had been drinking.

The first fatality of the strikes came on Aug. 22, when shipyard worker Lee Suk Kyu was killed in the southern port of Koje island in a clash between strikers and police.

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