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Migrant Filipino is South Korea Labor Union President

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Michel Catuira, chairman of the Seoul-Gyeonggi-Incheon Migrants' Trade Union (MTU)

In 2009, Michel Catuira, a migrant Filipino worker in South Korea for many years, became a chairman of the Seoul-Gyeonggi-Incheon Migrants’ Trade Union (MTU), and the following year became the first foreign delegate in the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU). After becoming chairman, he spent his days working in factories and his nights organizing workers.

The Korean government has not regarded the MTU’s activities with pleasure. Three of its past chairpeople have been the objects of “target crackdowns” by immigration authorities and forcibly deported. Catuira was almost deported until the Seoul Administrative Court took Catuira’s side, saying, “I suspect that Seoul Immigration Office’s handling of the case may have been because of the plaintiff’s labor union activity.”

South Korea is not a signatory to the United Nations’ International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, which stipulates the right of migrant workers and their families to be free from discrimination compared to citizens of the country where they work, and includes the right to form labor unions.

However, Catuira is returning back to the Philippines to care for his grandmother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. His cousin, who looked after the ailing grandmother, is leaving to work in the United States. Catuira is expected to be back in the Philippines at the end of this month.

Source: The Hankyoreh

Photo taken from No Base Stories Korea

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