83 pct of unionized civil servants want interior minister sacked over Itaewon crowd crush

November 28, 2022

More than 83 percent of unionized civil servants support punishing and sacking Interior Minister Lee Sang-min for the bungled emergency response to the deadly crowd crush in Seoul’s neighborhood, their union said Monday.

The results came in a poll conducted among members of the Korean Government Employees’ Union from Tuesday through Thursday, asking civil servants to rate the Yoon Suk-yeol government’s policies in a seven-point questionnaire. About 38,000 of the union’s 120,000 took part in the survey.

Of those who responded, 83.4 percent said the interior minister should be fired and punished as one responsible for the deadly crowd crush on Oct. 29, the union said.

Nearly 93 percent opposed the government’s workforce downsizing plan, while its push to privatize some public service sectors drew objections from 87.9 percent. Almost 90 percent objected to the government pushes to expand work hours and have differentiated minimum wages for different business sectors.

In a press conference, the union said it plans to refer the Yoon government to the International Labour Organization and other international human rights bodies for “labor repression.” It also called for the government to sack the interior minister immediately and bring him to justice.

The government had prohibited the survey and labeled it as an illegal act that goes beyond the labor rights legally guaranteed for civil servants, warning of disciplinary action against those who organized or joined it.

It accused four of the seven survey questions of being politically oriented or having nothing to do with labor conditions, including one regarding the interior minister.

Interior ministry officials said the government will begin Tuesday to deliberate disciplinary action against those involved.

In this file photo, members of the Korean Government Employees' Union hold a press conference on Nov. 15, 2022, in Seoul's Yongsan district. (Yonhap)

In this file photo, members of the Korean Government Employees’ Union hold a press conference on Nov. 15, 2022, in Seoul’s Yongsan district. (Yonhap)