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Protest der südkoreanischen ArbeiterInnen von CORT und COR-TEK auf der Musikmesse Frankfurt

Auf der Musikmesse, die vom 1. bis zum 4. April 2009 stattfindet, werden Gitarren von CORT ausgestellt. CORT ist ein weltweit bekannter Gitarrenproduzent aus SüdKorea und wir sind die ArbeiterInnen von CORTund seinem Subunternehmen COR-TEK. Wir sind Gitarren produzierendeArbeiterInnen aus Südkorea. Wir werden zusammen mit Musikern,Künstlern, die sich mit uns solidarisieren, nach Frankfurt am Main fliegen, um der Weltöffentlichkeit die Wahrheit über die Produktion der CORT-Gitarre mitzuteilen.

Seit schon ca. 700 Tagen kämpfen wir gegen den Scheinkonkurs der Betriebe und gegen die Unterdrückung durch den Arbeitergeber Park Young Ho. Durch den langen Kampf ist es uns gelungen, die südkoreanische Öffentlichkeit auf die blutige Wahrheit der CORT-Gitarre aufmerksam zu machen. Nun wissen südkoreanische Bürger, dass das Klagen und die Schreie von hunderten ArbeiterInnen mit dem schönen Klang der CORT-Gitarre laut mitklingen. Der schöne Klang der CORT-Gitarre verbirgt die Gewalt, mit der der Arbeitgeber das Leben seiner ArbeiterInnen aufs Spiel setzt.
 
- Warum gehen wir zur Frankfurter Musikmesse?

CORT setzt nur 5% seiner Produkte auf dem Binnenmarkt um und 95% auf dem Weltmarkt. Die Hauptkunden befinden sich nicht in Südkorea, sondern auf dem Weltmarkt, der sich hier auf der Frankfurter Musikmesse versammelt. Daher hatten unsere Protestaktionen innerhalb Südkoreas kaum schmerzhafte Auswirkungen auf das Unternehmen. Darüber hinaus hat unser
Arbeitgeber seinen Hauptproduktionsstandort ins Ausland verlegt, ohne mit uns darüber ein einziges Wort zu sprechen. Wir sind also Opfer dieser rechtswidrigen Transaktion. Aus diesem Grund haben wir beschlossen, die Weltöffentlichkeit auf unsere Situation aufmerksam zu machen.
 
CORT ist einer der größten Gitarrenproduzenten, der 30% des Weltgitarrenmarktes kontrolliert. Er hat insgesamt sechs Betriebe, zwei in Südkorea, vier in Indonesien und China. Von 1996 bis 2007 hat das Unternehmen nicht ein einziges mal rote Zahlen geschrieben. Der akkumulierte Gewinn in diesem Zeitraum beträgt ca. 60 Mio. Dollar. Der Eigentümer Park Young Ho ist Billionär, der 120reichste Mensch in Südkorea.
 
Während CORT weltberühmt und sein Eigentümer immer reicher wurde, sind dagegen hunderte Arbeiter bei CORT und COR-TEK immer mehr ausgebeutet worden. Unser Tageslohn? Weniger als 17 Euro! Drastisches Lohndumping, schlimme Unfallverletzungen, rechtswidrige Entlassungen, blutige Unterdrückung der gewerkschaftlichen Tätigkeiten sind an der Tagesordnung gewesen. All das haben wir ausgehalten, aber nun vor zwei Jahren, im Jahr 2007, hat der Arbeitgeber mit seinen Betrieben in Südkorea Scheinkonkurs
angemeldet und alle Beschäftigten auf die Straße geworfen.
 
Von da an bis heute, ohne Unterbrechung, haben wir alle Arten von Kämpfen durchgeführt, um unsere Arbeitplätze zu retten: Demonstrationen auf der Strasse, Selbsverbrennung, 30 Tage Hungerstreik auf einem 40m hohen Strommast mit 150.000 Voltspannung usw. usf. Doch die einzige Antwort des Arbeitgebers auf unsere verzweifelten Aktionen war bloße Gewalt, mal durch Einstellung zahlreicher Gewerkschaftsbrecher, mal durch die Staatsgewalt (und diese ist nicht viel sanfter). 
 
Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, Bürgerinnen und Bürger in der BRD und in aller Welt!

Bitte, schenken Sie uns Ihre Aufmerksamkeit! Es geht nicht nur um die Schönheit der Gitarren, sondern vor allem um Leben und Tod von hunderten von ArbeiterInnen. Ja, wir wollen Gitarren herstellen, wir wollen nicht unsere handwerkliche Geschicklichkeit des Gitarrenmachers verloren gehen lassen, wir wollen die ins Koma gefallene Gitarre wieder zum Leben bringen. Wir wollen selbst wieder leben. Sagen Sie bitte "Nein" zu Park Young Ho, unserem Arbeitgeber, so dass er rechtswidrig geschlossene Betriebe wieder in Gang setzen muss. Schreiben Sie Ihn an, dass er rechtswidrig entlassene ArbeiterInnen wieder einstellen muss. Gewissenhafte MusikliebhaberInnen in der BRD und in aller Welt, wir bitten Sie! Mit Ihrer nachhaltigen Aufmerksamkeit und Solidarität, werden wir weiter kämpfen, bis unsere Gerechtigkeit, die Gerechtigkeit, endlich siegt.
 
Die Cort Gitarre weint..
Schöne Musik geht nicht mit Ungerechtigkeit!
CORT und COR-TEK Betriebe wieder in Gang setzen!!
Weggeworfene ArbeiterInnen wieder anstellen!!
 

KMWU (Korean Metal Workers Union) / ArbeiterInnen bei CORT und COR-TEK / Solidaritätsgruppe der MusikerInnen und KünstlerInnen, Südkorea

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1. We are asking for your solidarity and cooperation.
 
The following is about people who had made one third of guitars being circulated worldwide but didn't own theirs at all. Their working
place was always closed and have no window for high productivity. They have worked without a break like egg laying hens within the wire cage and took ill gradually. Some lost their fingers by the sawing machine, others was suffering from chronicle muscle and bone related diseases caused by sanding and grinding process. Most of them have bronchitis or asthma caused by working at the closed painting room full of organic solvent. Nevertheless, the workers were happy whenever they saw the guitars
inlaid with mother of pearl produced by themselves and exported to countries around the world. They have only worked hard day and night for ten or twenty years with pride.
 
Meanwhile, Park Young Ho, the CEO of the Cor-tek have builded up a fortune of 78million dollars during those period time at the expense of workers' labor. As of now, he ranks 125th among the richest men in the world. After establishing the new factory in China, 1997, he gradually reduced the production lines in Korea. That was the planned scheme. Furthermore, on April 2007, he laid off the 56 Incheon factory workers and disguisedly closed the business of Daejeon factory and laid off remaining 67 workers three months later. Against the company's abnormal restructuring policy, Lee Dong Ho, one of the workers, protested with burning himself on December 2007. But, Park didn't care for the protest and also closed the business of Incheon factory on August 2008. Nowhere else to go, they have protested with protecting the closed factory since then.
 
The workers used to work willingly from early morning every day. After establishing the labor union in 2006, they raised their wage to the highest level in 12 years but the raised one was only near minimum wage of Korea workers.
 
Last year, they protested with hunger strike on the high power supply tower at riverside for a month. And they tried to squat the head office but all were arrested by specially trained police officers soon.
 
Maybe, the guitars with the brand name of Cort, Parkwood, Ibanez or Fender was played song of love somewhere around the world even at the moment when the workers was being dragged to the police office like a dog. Now, the melody
maybe sound like whispering "join hands in solidarity" and appealing "we have to meet together." or "we are the one." We are terribly afraid of current time of negligence and severance. We fear all faces of estrangement and oblivion and annoyance.
 
Fortunately, many Koreans who belong to art and cultural organization have joined to help the workers. Some workers
are scheduled to visit The International Trade Fair for musical instruments held in Frankfurt, Germany from April 1 to 10, 2009. They
will desperately appeal for understanding their miserable situation to the participants. Especially we need support from many Germans who belong to art and cultural organization. We ask for your solidarity and cooperation.
 
2. The workers' testimony about their lives
 
“There were full of noises and dust inside the factory. We worked with standing all day long. Most of my coworkers
have suffered from asthma and swollen legs and have difficulty in hearing. My hands were sore from cones created by using heavily
vibrating grinding machine for a long time. My hands needed surgical operation but the company wouldn't recognize my case as the industrial injuries which they had to compensate. Sometimes, the supervisor demanded to start work as early as 6 am when the whole process of producing guitars should be continued. We had to work without being paid any overtime allowance before and after the working hour.”
 
“Some supervisors even expressed greeting by touching the hips of the women workers every morning. They harassed the pretty workers by asking for going out after work and molested the ugly workers by mean behaviors. For example, they assigned the ugly workers to other production line before they accustomed to the new line. Those mean behaviors made them crazy.”
 
“We couldn't even get the 15 minutes's break twice a day until organizing the worker's union. The supervisors were cursing to us if we didn't arrive 30 minutes early before starting the regular working hour. There was one worker who has
worked at the painting process for 25 years and suffered from bronchitis. One day, when he lost consciousness during working, the
managing staff even demanded for him to write a letter of resignation during hospitalization.”
 
"I started this work at the age of 35 as the youngest one among coworkers. At that times, I worked hard willingly without caring my body at all as the experienced workers did from 50 minutes early before the working hour.”
 
“Being tired by hard working, I was sent to the emergency room three times. But I had to go to work in early morning from hospital for fear of getting sacked. Later, I lost consciousness and hospitalized after all.”
 
“(showing her right wrist)Can you see the lump poking out on my wrist? This is from repeated scooping out motions with the sawing knife. Doctor said joint fluid within my wrist was increased from heavy work. The fluid was extracted but never stopped and I was suffering from sore wrist.”
 
“The company paid differently even to the workers on the same production line. That is to say, they paid more to the preferred workers without providing any acceptable basis. After the raising the wage, managing staff ordered them to keep secret among coworkers. Every morning meeting, they always warn to be careful not to disclose the secret. There were always full of jealousy and competition among coworkers. It was like living hell.”
 
“Some times ago, one of my coworkers forgot the morning greeting to the supervisor. Since then, he molested
her and made complaints against her who was actually good at working. On top of that, he was cursing for no apparent reason and assigned her to other production line several times. Whenever she felt tired of being harassed, she cried a lot and retired after all. Soon after the resignation, she hung to death from depressing at the mountain in back of the factory with wearing the uniform vest written "Cort" on the back.”
 
“Since 2005, the company often said in public that they are suffering from chronic deficit. We believed company's explanation as it is. Therefore, we saved materials and worked hard without requesting any overtime allowance. After organizing the union, we got to know the truth that our company made a large profits of 65million dollars every year. All workers who have worked with patience were really shocked.”
 
“We
didn't respond to their demand for some worker's resignation. Then, the
supervisor indirectly threaten us to write a letter of resignation even
during working hours. The pressure was hard to bear. So we suggested to
accept their demand on condition of short term compensation.”
 
“We were really ignorant of the labor law and believed the company's allegation that we couldn't get the unemployment benefit without documents issued by them. We helplessly accepted the resignation in exchange for getting documents in the end.”
 
“After organizing the union in 2006, we raised the wage to the highest level in 12 years. However, the result was only near minimum wage of korea workers. For example, Woo Mi Za, one of our coworkers, paid less than 20 dollar a day for working to the bone.”
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