This Month at PSPD, Jan/Feb 2023
PSPD held the 2022 Public Interest Whistleblower Award Ceremony
Since 2010, the Public Interest Reporting Support Center of the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD) has been holding ‘The Whistle-blower of the Year Award’ every year to honor and recognize the whistle-blowers’ courage and dedication to the public interest. This year, 12 whistleblowing cases that were recommended by congresspeople, national organizations, civic groups, and journalists were reviewed. Three teams were announced as winners and two candidates as special awards on December 9th this year. The winners of the whistleblower award of the year are those who reported the corruption of the Smart School business at Uchon Elementary School, those on the human rights violations of the disabled living in Seongrakwon, and those on the leakage of radioactive material from the spent nuclear fuel storage tank at Wolseong Nuclear Power Plant. Special awards were given to two candidates who were first-generation whistleblowers for the contribution they made to the protection of whistleblowers in Korea. These candidates had resisted illegal and unfair instructions by the government and enacted the Anti-Corruption Act in an era when the word “whistleblower” was not very well known in Korea.
Revise Articles 2 and 3 of the Trade Union And Labor Relations Adjustment Act(TULRAA)!
On December 9, the general strike of the cargo union ended. The 16-day strike not only confirmed the poor treatment that cargo workers face but also revealed that the discussions on the “safe-rates system” and “expansion of goods” have not proceeded properly despite agreements made between the Cargo Truckers Solidarity union and the government in June. It is critical time to address the chronic problem of cargo workers’ long working hours, which will ultimately threaten the safety of workers and citizens. However, the Yoon administration chooses to respond with both anti-labor and hostile measures. The “back-to-work” order, which aroused controversies for being anti-constitutional, was issued, and a lawsuit against cargo unions for compensation for damage was mentioned by the Yoon Administration. Meanwhile, it has been almost a month since the ‘TULRAA Article 2·3 Revision Movement Headquarters’ launched a hunger strike for the guarantee of labor rights for all workers. PSPD is also working with the “TULRAA Article 2·3 Revision Movement Headquarters” as PSPD’s co-representatives, executives, and full-time activists have joined the hunger strike.
State audit on the relocation of the presidential office by the request of citizens, only partly accepted.
Last October, 700 citizens submitted an audit request for the inspection of the relocation of the presidential office, but the state auditor has only accepted parts of the requests, It still is a great achievement made by PSPD members and citizens, as it was the first inspection by the state audit on the Yoon Seok-yeol administration, but the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) decided to dismiss key claims—alleged violations of the National Finance Act due to waste of the national budget and legitimacy related to the presidential office’s employee recruitment. We cannot let the BAI act like a pawn for the president. We will keep urging the BAI to do proper inspections and keep working to get to the bottom of the presidential compound relocation process.
Shout for peace on the Korean Peninsula with the Nobel Peace Prize winners!
The Campaign to End the War on the Korean Peninsula asked former Nobel Peace Prize winners, who visited Gangwon-do to attend the <Nobel Peace Prize World Summit>, to work together for an end to the Korean War and peace on the Korean Peninsula. The representative of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (awarded in 2017), founder of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet Organization (awarded in 2015), representative of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (awarded in 1985), Lima Bowie (awarded in 2011), etc have joined in the joint press conference (December 13) and shouted, “Let’s achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula and take a step toward world peace.”
Welcoming the enactment of the delivery unit price linkage system that has been delayed for 14 years
The “delivery unit price linkage system,” which had been delayed for 14 years, was finally passed. The delivery unit price linkage system is a system that allows raw material price fluctuations to be reflected in the delivery unit price in transactions between prime contractors and subcontractors. This system is expected to alleviate the hardships of small and medium-sized businesses. Last September, PSPD proposed through the National Assembly members an amendment to the Fair Transactions in Subcontracting Act, which covers not only raw materials but also labor costs. We will continue to work on further legislation.
Introducing the “sparkly” research of a budding researcher
Since 2018, the Participatory Society Research Institute has established and supported the ‘Twinkle Twinkle Distinguished Thesis Award’ to support emerging researchers who are raising their critical voices in the humanities and social sciences. Three winners and one honorable mention were selected among the research papers that shed light on the lives of minorities and the underprivileged. Congratulations to those who won the prizes! Also, we would like to express our gratitude to the 6,365 citizens who showed their support by raising funds for the “Kakao Together Value.” The award-winning papers can be viewed on the PSPD website.
Consolation, determination, and hope!
On the evening of December 15, the year-end party was held at the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD) for the first time in three years. Despite the sudden cold weather, thankfully, many still came to participate. Together, we wrote down the lists of wishes for the coming years and tied them up to the branches of a wish tree. We prepared a time to express our special thanks to the information desk volunteer members, who are always reliable and there for us, and also to the four sisters who became members of PSPD all together this year. We send our thanks to the members who have been strong supporters of the PSPD this year. We hope to have another great year with you!
Translated by a PSPD Volunteer
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