After repeated clashes with strikers at Ssangyong Motor Co. Ltd.’s Pyeongtaek, South Korea, facility, police still have not been able to gain access to the assembly line or paint shop, an eyewitness tells Ward’s.
“There are reports police commandos stormed the paint plant and got inside, but that is not true,” the Ssangyong source says via cell phone. “There are police special forces in other parts of the plant, but they have not moved against the paint-shop area.”
The strikers have set fire to several buildings, including some cars and a trailer, the source says. “I do not have an official count, but I believe 17 people were seriously injured this afternoon and have been taken to the hospital.”
Police attempted to get onto the roof of the 2-story body-in-white assembly building that is attached to the 4-story paint shop. The source says entering the paint shop would be the last of several operations after clearing strikers from the assembly lines.
“We have some presence in the first of two body-in-white lines but need to take the second line before we can enter the paint plant,” he says. “We have not been able to do that.”
Defying the order of National Police Agency Commissioner Kang Hee-rak, some 3,000 Ssangyong workers have shown up at the plant to join police in the effort to clear out the strikers, who have occupied the plant since May 21.
Kang made his statement yesterday after Ssangyong management met with suppliers that plan to file a petition asking the Seoul Central Court to liquidate the auto maker. Ssangyong officials reportedly assured them employees would retake the plant themselves.
Although the fiery fights have ended for now, the complex is far from peaceful. In addition to the armed strikers, about 400 representatives from other unions are demonstrating at the site.