Another laid-off worker from Ssangyong motors committed suicide … already 17th

Disclaim: The following is a totally unauthoritative personal translation of an article appeared in <OhmyNews> on October 11, 2011, reporting the 17th suicide of laid-off workers from Ssangyong motors in Pyeongtaek, Korea. The article signifies the hardships laid-off workers suffer since cut-throat lock-out strike in 2009. Original article (in Korean) can be located following the link at the bottom. All rights of this article stay with the author of original article and <OhmyNews>. This post will be scrapped by their request.

Another laid-off worker from Ssangyong motors committed suicide … already 17th suicide

At his home in the afternoon on October 10 … he had attempted 1 year before

Another laid-off worker from Ssangyong motors died.

According to Korea Metal Workers Union Ssangyong motors branch (Ssangyong motors branch), a union member Kim (36) hanged himself at his home in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi-do around 3PM in October 10. He saw his mother early in the morning at 5AM that day, served breakfast for her, and committed suicide alone later while she was out. Mr. Kim was unmarried yet and had lived with his widowed mother.

Kim participated in the 77-day-long factory-occupying strike in last 2009 and left the factory just one day before the police suppression in mid-July due to psychological pressure and stress from placation and threat. Then, he voluntarily retired from company.

Since then he lived on the retirement fund and money he got from selling his car. He even  had card loans which his mother has been paying for him instead. Extreme living difficulty has been going on for a long time and it is known that he even talked to one of his acquaintances that he was very distressed because he could not find any job.

It is known that Kim attempted to commit suicide around the same time last year, exactly 1 year before, leaving a suicide note behind but his mother succeeded in dissuading him that time. It is rather understandable how pressing his situation has been. Surviving families are known to say that he showed symptoms of sociophobia from 1 year before and he even didn’t go out since 6 months ago, severing all of his social ties. The fact that his cell phone had only two photos of his own and only one phone number of his friend confirms this.

Ssangyong motors branch lamented “We heard one obituary a few days ago (October 4) that one of the so called the living who had not got laid-off and has worked in the factory killed himself in his own car inhaling toxic substances out of burning coal briquette. Our tears have not dried yet but we hear another said news of 17th death.”
Then, it resented “We want you to know that this death is not just a death. Ssangyong motors who should bear the full ethical responsibility is absorbed in pretenseful events such as meaningless vision declaration.” It also asked back “Are we to put up with this even though it is clearly the responsibility of Ssangyong motors?”

KMWU Ssangyong motors branch nailed it down “As have been the cases for workers who died so far, we will try our best to realize what late Kim wanted to see, the aspiration to go back to work at the factory.” Then continued “We think that’s the least we can do for all who died during the struggle including Kim and other colleagues and their families. We pray for the late Kim and hope he rest in peace in a place without rows and anguishes.”

Borrowing reports from “the Association of Physicians for Humanism” and fact-finding investigation by “People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy”, Ssangyong motors branch explained some aspects of hardships laid-off workers suffer in a press release. Among laid-off workers of Ssangyong motors, 95% suffer depression, 52% thought about suicide. They also have 3.7% higher rate of suicide than general people. Ssangyong motors branch said “All of these are actually on-going now.”

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