Young Pioneer Tours

General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea

What is the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea? At Young Pioneer Tours we like to delve into the inner-workings of North Korea, from an academic, rather than judgmental point of view you understand! Which brings us to the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea, one of the most important mass organizations of the DPRK and the most important Trade-Union.

General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea
By Wkbreaker – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=65064094

General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea

The General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea (GFTUK; Korean: 조선직업총동맹) was founded in 1946 as the General Federation of Trade Unions of North Korea, before adopting its current title in 1951, during the Korean War.

It is the sole legal trade union federation in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, and as previously stated is an incredibly important mass organization. What is a North Korean Mass Organization you ask? Don’t worry we will get to that later.

Organization of the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea

The chairman of the central committee of GFTUK is Pak In-Chol. It is directly under control of the Workers Party of Korea, this makes it different from Trade-Unions in other countries in that it is integrated into the state, rather than being independent of it. This makes it a patriotic organization that theoretically at least works with the government in improving the lot of workers.

How many members does the GFTUK have?

At the last count it had approximately 1.8million members, although these were split into various different segments of the organization, which are as follows

  • Trade Union of Metal and Engineering Industries of Korea
  • Trade Union of Mining and Power Industries of Korea
  • Trade Union of Light and Chemical Industries of Korea
  • Trade Union of Public Employees and Service Workers of Korea
  • Trade Union of Construction and Forestry Workers of Korea
  • Trade Union of Educational and Cultural Workers of Korea
  • Trade Union of Transport and Fisheries Workers of Korea

General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea and government

Contrary to popular belief North Korea is not exclusively run by the Workers Party of Korea and is officially at least part of a popular front coalition. This includes three political parties and a number of mass organizations, one of which is the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea. This means that they not only have representatives in the North Korean parliament, but also in the government via the democratic front.

To read about Political Parties in North Korea click here.

To read abut the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland click here.

What are these mass organizations you keep on about?

North Korea, or rather the DPRK is a country of mass organizations. These include the Korean Democratic Women’s League , the Union of Agricultural Workers of Korea, and of course the most important the Workers Party of Korea. There are others of course, but these are generally the most important.

To help with the functioning of state, all adults are generally expected to become a member of one of these organizations.

Do they have their own newspaper?

We are so glad that you asked If you have desisted North Korea you may have noticed a newspaper called the Rodongja Sinmun. The paper was created in 1948 and is the official mouth-piece of the Central Committee of the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea, the paper for the workers if you will!

Newspaper of the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea
By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53148269

Whilst they do not have an overt online presence you can see some of their stuff via KCNA Watch.

And that is the interesting story of the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea, to see the DPRK up close and personal check out one of our tours.

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