North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Trade Unions Hold 7th Congress

General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea chant during their 7th Congress (Photo: Korean Central Television).

General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea chant during their 7th Congress (Photo: Korean Central Television).

The General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea [GFTUK] held its 7th Congress at the People’s Palace of Culture in Pyongyang October 25 and October 26 (Tuesday and Wednesday).  Among those attending the 7th Congress from the platform were Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Vice Chairman for Workers’ and Social Organizations Choe Ryong Hae [Ch’oe Ryong-hae], WPK Vice Chairman for Propaganda and Agitation Kim Ki Nam [Kim Ki-nam] abd WPK Workers’ and Social Organizations Department Director Ri Il Hwan [Ri Il-hwan],  Attending the GFTUK 7th Congress were delegates elected at provincial trade union conferences.  Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] cadres, DPRK Government officials and Korean People’s Army [KPA] and security officials attended the congress as observers along with a visiting delegation from the Union of Korean Teachers in Japan.

GFTUK Central Committee Chairman Ju Yong Gil speaks during the 7th Congress (Photo: Korean Central Television).

GFTUK Central Committee Chairman Ju Yong Gil speaks during the 7th Congress (Photo: Korean Central Television).

The GFTUK 7th Congress Agenda was: reviewing the GFTUK Central Committee’s work; reviewing the GFTUK Central Auditing Commission’s work; revising GFTUK’s rules and bylaws; and, electing the GFTUK’s leadership.

During the congress congratulatory messages from the Labor Headquarters of the South Side Committee for Implementing the June 15 Joint Declaration, other international trade unions and institutions were read out.  Choe Ryong Hae read out a letter from Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) titled “The Duty of the Working Class of Kim Il Sung (Kim Il-so’ng) and Kim Jong Il (Kim Cho’ng-il) for the Times and the Tasks Facing Trade Union Organization.”

WPK Vice Chairman and State Affairs Commission Vice Chairman Choe Ryong Hae reads out a letter from Kim Jong Un during the GFTUK 7th Congress (Photo: Korean Central Television).

WPK Vice Chairman and State Affairs Commission Vice Chairman Choe Ryong Hae reads out a letter from Kim Jong Un during the GFTUK 7th Congress (Photo: Korean Central Television).

According to KCNA, the letter said:

In the period of revolutionary upsurge, when the whole Party, the entire army and all the people are stepping up the general offensive to hasten final victory in building a powerful socialist country holding high the gigantic program advanced by the Seventh Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the Seventh Congress of the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea is being held.

This congress will constitute a historic occasion for demonstrating to the whole world the strength of our working class rallied firmly behind the Party and their confidence in sure victory and, by further improving the functions and fighting efficiency of trade union organizations, enlisting the working class and all other trade union members in the Mallima advance of the new era.

I extend warm congratulations to the congress and wish it a great success.

The GFTUK is a mass political organization of the working class faithful to the Party, an organization founded and steadily developed thanks to the energetic leadership and deep trust of the great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il; it is also a powerful combat force in implementing the revolutionary cause of Chuch’e.

With an understanding of the importance of the position and role of the working class in the revolution and construction, Comrade Kim Il Sung, after founding the Party following the country’s liberation, formed the General Federation of Labour Unions of North Korea as a unitary political organization embracing the broad sections of the working class. In every period and at every stage of the developing revolution he indicated the road ahead of the organization and wisely led it so that the working class could perform their responsibility and basic duty as a vanguard detachment in the revolution.

On the basis of the Chuch’e-oriented idea on building working people’s organizations, Comrade Kim Jong Il provided definite guidelines for developing the GFTUK into a reliable assistant and champion of the Party, and led it so that its organizations could fulfill its mission and tasks as a body for political and ideological education. He also lit torches for mass movements, ensuring that the flames of collective, collaborative innovations flared up in socialist construction.

The great leaders called the working class first whenever difficult and gigantic tasks arose for the revolution, and ushered in fresh heydays of the revolution by relying on them. Their warm affection and trust and wise leadership trained the working class and other trade union members into heroes of the times and enabled the GFTUK to follow only the road of loyalty without changing its course even in the face of the whirlwind of history.

Cherishing absolute trust in and revolutionary obligation towards the great leaders, the working class and the GFTUK supported the Party and the leaders with loyalty, braving the serious ordeals and hardships in the vanguard. Holding high the banner of self-reliance our working class built on the debris on this land a socialist industrial state in a short period after the war in the spirit of Ch’o’llima. In the trying days of the Arduous March and anti-US confrontation, they fought with a do-or-die determination and will, thus making a great contribution to the development of the self-reliant defense industry and to the cause of building a powerful socialist country. The world-startling, miraculous events including those of turning misfortunes into blessing taking place now in various parts of the country are associated with the sweat and blood of patriotic loyalty shed by the working class and other trade union members who are supporting the Party’s leadership with one mind and will, shoulder to shoulder with the service personnel.

I extend warm thanks and militant greetings to the working class, other trade union members and officials of the GFTUK across the country, who, believing only in our Party with a single mind both in good times and bad, have devoted their patriotic enthusiasm and wisdom for the prosperity of the socialist country to the call of the Party and the leaders.

Today our people have forcefully turned out in the grandiose struggle to build a powerful socialist country under the banner of modeling the whole society on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism advanced by the historic Seventh Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

In today’s all-people general onward march, the working class, strong in the spirit of the revolution and organization and possessed of inexhaustible creative strength, ought to take charge of and play a leading, pioneer role.

Our Party conferred the honorable title, “the heroic working class of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il,” on our working class that supported the great leaders’ ideas and leadership with loyalty. This title bears the unshakeable will and determination of our Party to carry forward in their entirety the idea of prioritizing the working class and leadership of the great leaders, who, by placing them in the vanguard, effected gigantic social and historical changes and tided over the trying hardships; it also reflects the Party’s great trust and expectation that they will fulfill their basic duty as the working class of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il in implementing the revolutionary cause of Chuch’e.

The heroic working class of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, holding aloft the banner of modeling the whole society on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism, should become the engine propelling the masses forward on the general onward march and the example for all other members of society to follow in stepping up the building of a powerful socialist country. This is the noble duty they have assumed for the country and the revolution in the new era of the Chuch’e revolution.

Bearing in mind the great trust of the Party and the people, our working class should creditably perform this honorable mission and duty as befits the advance force for the Chuch’e revolution and the eldest sons of the nation who have been trained under the close concern of the great leaders.

For them to fulfill their sacred duty for the times, it is important to bring about a decisive improvement in the work of the GFTUK.

The GFTUK is a powerful political instrument for training its members, including the working class, into Kimilsungists-Kimjongilists with unfailing loyalty to the Party and the leader and mobilizing them to implement the revolutionary cause of Chuch’e.

It should take modeling itself on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism as its general task.

Our revolution advances and wins victories on the strength of the unity of the Party, the army and the broad sections of the working masses. Modeling the whole Party, the entire army and working people’s organizations including the youth league and the GFTUK on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism is just the way to carry out the cause of imbuing the whole society with Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism. And this is the key to the final victory of the socialist cause, the revolutionary cause of Chuch’e.

Modeling the GFTUK on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism is the fundamental guarantee for making the working class revolutionary, developing them into an elite force and enhancing their core, leading role in every way possible. When the working class, who constitute the progressive force and hardcore of our society, become the engine and play an exemplary role in leading its other members forward, the great cause will be successfully carried on of transforming all members of society and all realms of social life in keeping with the requirements of Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism.

The Party’s unified leadership system should be established more firmly across the GFTUK.

Modeling the GFTUK on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism is an undertaking of developing it into a body that is ideologically pure and organizationally integrated, an organization over which Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism holds undivided sway and which moves as one under the Party’s unified leadership.

The permanent guiding ideology of the GFTUK is the great Kimilsungism- Kimjongilism. The GFTUK should conduct its building and activities with this ideology as its sole guideline. It should staunchly defend the great leaders’ idea and theory on building trade union and their undying leadership exploits, and apply them to the letter. It should also carry out the instructions they gave in their lifetime, holding fast to them as its lifeblood.

It should remain infinitely loyal to the leadership of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Its organizations should adhere to our Party’s ideas, lines and policies in planning and executing their work. They should establish rigid discipline and order whereby all the problems that arise in their work are brought to the Party in time and dealt with according to its decisions. They should defy death in implementing the Party’s lines and policies. They should promptly transmit its policies and directives to the lowest echelons and carry them out in the shortest possible period and at the highest possible level. Just as the eldest child empathizes with and supports his or her parents before his or her siblings, so the working class, who are the eldest sons of the nation, should take the lead in translating the Party’s intentions and demands into reality.

Defending the Party Central Committee unto death is the life and soul and a proud tradition of the Korean working class. One generation of the working class may be replaced by another, but their tradition of faithfully supporting the Party and the leader and the history of single-hearted unity should be carried forward forever. The working class and other trade union members should absolutely trust and follow only the Party at all times and throw in their lot with it to the last like the workers of Kunja-ri and Ragwon who worked indomitably in the flames of war for its victory by cherishing the firm conviction that they would surely win as they were led by Comrade Kim Il Sung and like those of Kangson who guarded the Party and the leader at the risk of their lives by effecting the great Ch’o’llima upsurge. They should defend the ideology and authority of the Party in the spirit they displayed in postwar days, when they safeguarded the Party shouting they would throw the factional elements into the electric furnace; they should not in the least overlook or compromise with anti-Party and unsound practices of all hues revealed in implementing the Party’s policies, but resolutely smash them with their iron fists.

It is necessary to strengthen guidance of the organizational and ideological life in the trade union so as to fully prepare all its members as true Kimilsungists-Kimjongilists.

The organizational and ideological life in the trade union is a school for ideological education to train its members to be Kimilsungists-Kimjongilists and a crucible for organizational training. Trade union organizations should take the guidance of organizational and ideological life as the main line and give top priority to it.

All efforts should be concentrated on the ideological education of trade union members.

Trade union organizations should vigorously conduct the five-point education advanced by the Party in order to make all their members persons strong in ideas and faith, ardent patriots, vanguard fighters of the class and noble morality incarnate, who are fully equipped with the ideological and spiritual qualities becoming Kimilsungists- Kimjongilists. They should put efforts into educating their members to learn from the revolutionary soldier spirit and the spirit of the Paektusan (Mt. Paektu) hero youth. They should implant in them the Party’s idea and line of prioritizing military affairs so as to make them study military affairs with sincerity and remain alert and prepared at all times by firmly holding the weapon of the revolution in one hand and the hammer of the class in the other. They should intensify ideological education and ideological struggle, which are aimed at smashing the reactionary ideological and cultural infiltration by the imperialists and their following forces, so as to keep their members from being contaminated by the capitalist poison and lead all of them to hold fast to the working-class stand and live and work in a sound and revolutionary manner.

Ideological education of them should be conducted in various forms, by various methods and in a novel manner in keeping with their preparedness and characteristics. The precisely-targeted method of ideological work of the Party should be applied positively to step up the ideological remolding of the working class and other trade union members and make the whole country bubble with enthusiasm for effecting a great upswing. It is important to properly furnish the educational bases of the trade union and conduct education by means of them in a planned and regular way. The education system set up in trade union organizations should be utilized in an effective way, and all the means and ways of information and motivation work enlisted in carrying out the tasks prioritized by the Party, important policy-oriented tasks.

Guidance to the organizational life of the trade union members should be intensified.

Trade union organizations should make scrupulous arrangements for guiding them in their organizational life with the focus put on improving their loyalty to the Party and the leader and in combination with the implementation of their revolutionary assignments. They should encourage them to get into the habit of voluntarily participating in the organizational life, so that they always rely on their organizations in and out of work and carry out the decisions and assignments of their organizations in time and without fail. They should improve the level of organizational life review sessions to make them an important occasion in educating and training their members in a revolutionary way.

They should establish rigid organizational discipline and make a strict demand for organizational life. They should arrange the organizational life in compliance with the union Rules and the regulations of union life and strengthen organizational control of their members to prevent them from living divorced from their organizations.

The working class and other trade union members should be enlisted in the building of a powerful socialist country.

Trade union organizations should conduct dynamic political work, information and motivation work, aimed at giving free rein to the spiritual strength of the working class and other trade union members who are out in socialist construction, and thus encourage them to perform fresh miraculous feats. This will make it possible to help the working class and other trade union members conduct a vigorous production campaign to implement the five-year strategy for national economic development, fulfill their daily, monthly and quarterly assignments without fail and become honorable Mallima riders who perform miraculous innovations in science, education, public health, literature, the arts and all other fields. They should also work devotedly in their workplaces regarding them as outposts in the grand campaign to build a powerful socialist country, and thus create more assets conducive to strengthening the country’s defense capability, developing the economy and promoting the people’s well-being.

It is important in building a powerful socialist country to comprehensively apply the spirit of self-development first. Cherishing the firm conviction that things of our own are the best and our own strength is the greatest, the working class and other trade union members should give full play to their fighting spirit of self-reliance so as to boldly effect domestic production of necessary materials and equipment and upgrading of technical processes of production and create the highest standard of socialist civilization. With the self-respect and courage as befits the working class of Korea, they should produce everything better than others’, and thus sweep away the proclivity to imports and demonstrate the resourcefulness of the nation and the honour of the country.

If they are to be strong in the self-development capability and play the major role in the era of the knowledge-based economy, the working class and other trade union members should master modern science and technology. Nothing is impossible when the revolutionary spirit of the working class is combined with modern science and technology. The working class and other trade union members, bearing in mind the Party’s intention to prepare all the people as intelligent workers, scientific and technical personnel, should be enrolled in the study-while-you-work system like distance education and study hard to raise the level of their knowledge of modern science and technology and cultural attainments. They should reject the tendencies to relying only on experience and thinking technology as something mysterious, and present new inventions and valuable technical innovations, thus making a positive contribution to the scientific and technological development of their respective units and to the building of a knowledge-based economy. Trade union organizations should support and lead the working class and other trade union members so that they can stand in the vanguard of the campaign to make all the people well-versed in science and technology.

Trade union organizations should ensure that the working class and other trade union members conduct mass-based sporting, cultural and artistic activities on a regular basis and establish a cultured way of production and life, so as to create a new culture of the working class and make the whole society brim over with vibrant spirit.

Mass movement is a powerful means for bringing about an uninterrupted upsurge in socialist construction on the strength of collective innovations. Trade union organizations should organize and briskly conduct socialist emulation campaign, mass technical innovation drive, movement to create model lathes following the example of Lathe No. 26, good-conduct movement and other mass movements as demanded by the reality, when a powerful socialist country is being built on a new high. By doing so, they can encourage the working class and other trade union members to devote all their enthusiasm and wisdom to socialist construction. They should set ambitious targets for the movements, with the main stress put on implementing the strategic tasks advanced by the Seventh Congress of the Party and in reflection of the aspirations and demands of the masses, and strive persistently to hit them; then the vitality of these movements can be given fullest play. They should give the working class and other trade union members a correct understanding of the objectives of the movements and ways of achieving them, generalize positive examples and properly review and evaluate the results, so as to inspire them with interest in and enthusiasm for the movements and enliven the social atmosphere.

It is an important task facing the working class and the GFTUK to strive for the realization of the independent reunification of the country and global independence.

The working class and other trade union members should fully equip themselves with our Party’s line and policy of the independent national reunification, and stand in the vanguard of the struggle to carry them out. They should actively support and encourage the workers in south Korea in their struggle for anti-US independence, democratization of society and their right to existence, promote solidarity and collaboration with labour union organizations in south Korea under the ideal of By Our Nation Itself, and thus open up the road to independent reunification.

The GFTUK should defend and apply our Party’s idea and principles of foreign policy, encourage the progressive peoples of the world in their struggle for independence, peace and socialism, and develop relations of good-neighbourliness, friendship and cooperation with the trade unions in other countries and international labour organizations, so as to expand the ranks of the supporters of and sympathizers with our revolution and accelerate the cause of global independence.

For the successful implementation of the tasks facing the GFTUK, its organizations at all levels should be strengthened and their functions and role enhanced.

Guidance organs of the GFTUK should be built up, and their members should fully discharge their responsibilities. These organs at all levels should be formed with many hard-core trade union members working on the shop floor, as well as officials of the GFTUK and in the administrative and economic sectors. The organs should take proactive steps to carry out the tasks facing trade union organizations and give assignments to their members on a regular basis, thus making them active in their work.

The main link in the whole chain of improving the trade union work is to enhance the role of its primary organizations including those at the lowest echelons, the basic combat units in implementing the Party’s policies for the GFTUK. They should give priority to the work with their members so as to rally all of them firmly behind the Party and inspire them forcefully to the implementation of its policies. By working effectively with their hard-core, active members, they should remold the masses in such a way that one educates ten and ten, one hundred, and thus strengthen themselves. As for the members who have some shortcomings in their work and life, they should make earnest efforts to educate them and help them with sincerity, so that all their members can keep pace with the dynamic advance of the times, their hearts pulsating to the same beat as it. It is necessary to step up the movement for creating the Model Organization of Loyalty and organize on an extensive scale the campaigns in which one overtakes and learns from others and swaps experiences with them, so that all the primary organizations work with unabated vigor and the whole of the GFTUK brims over with enthusiasm.

Provincial, city and county committees of the GFTUK should enhance their role. Provincial committees of the GFTUK, as its regional guidance units, should establish a well-regulated organizational life guidance system and strengthen control and guidance over their subordinate organizations, so as to make them working political entities. City and county trade union organizations should put the main emphasis on their internal work and work with the lower-echelon organizations, with the aim of steadily enhancing their fighting efficiency.

The Central Committee of the GFTUK is the General Staff that is responsible for planning the trade union work as a whole and providing unified guidance over it under the leadership of the Party. It should take the great leaders’ instructions and the Party’s policies as its sole guideline and orient all aspects of its work to implementing them. It should ensure that its departments and sections cooperate with one another under a scrupulous plan, and exercise effective control and guidance over its subordinates.

The fighting efficiency and role of trade union organizations are dependent largely on the qualifications and work methods of their officials who are in charge of organizing and guiding the trade union work.

Trade union officials should make efforts to improve their political and practical qualifications. They should firmly equip themselves with Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism and be fully conversant with the great leaders’ instructions and the Party’s policies for their respective sectors, making them an element of their firm faith. They should become competent political workers who are proficient in the trade union work and capable of organizing and conducting it creatively on their own initiative. They should acquire many-sided knowledge including modern science and technology and enhance their cultural attainments, mixing unceremoniously with the masses and effectively enlisting them in creating a Mallima speed.

Trade union officials should fully equip themselves with Comrade Kim Jong Il’s work methods and apply them to practice. They should follow the ennobling examples he set in educating and guiding the masses, and do everything as instructed by him. They should go down to the lower echelons as a matter of routine, mingling with the masses in and out of their work and helping and leading them forward. They should eliminate such outdated and backward methods of working as merely conveying the Party’s policies to the lower-echelon organizations or confining the trade union work to meetings and paperwork. Instead, they should always go deep among the masses, sowing seeds and harvesting fruits by themselves.

Party organizations should prioritize the trade union work and throw their full weight behind it.

They should build up the ranks of trade union officials with competent people who are faithful to the Party, popular among the masses, tempered through labour and possessed of practical abilities. They should pay close concern to educating these officials to ensure that they are fully aware of their basic duty and make strenuous efforts to fulfill their responsibility and role. They should identify, among trade union members on the shop floor, those who are loyal to the Party and promising, as reserve cadres of the GFTUK, temper them through practice and send them to training institutions so as to bring them up in a systematic way.

Trade union organizations should be encouraged to enhance their sense of independence and creativity. Party committees at all levels should promptly inform them of the Party’s policies in each period so that they can conduct their work and activities in conformity with the ideas and intentions of the Party. Party organizations should lead them to draw up their work plans in a proactive way and carry them out with courage. They should do away with the practice of shouldering the work of trade union organizations in their place; they should be bold in assigning tasks to trade union officials and inspire them to carry them out by their own efforts. They should provide trade union organizations with working conditions and give prominence and praise to their officials for the work done, so that they can work to the best of their abilities feeling dignity and honor.

When the working class redouble their efforts and trade union organizations are full of vigor, the might of our revolutionary ranks will be further strengthened and bigger strides will be made in the building of a powerful socialist country.

I firmly believe that the working class and all other members of the GFTUK and its organizations will fully demonstrate the heroic mettle as befits the working class of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and will make an active contribution to hastening final victory in building a powerful socialist country by fulfilling with credit the noble mission and duty they have assumed for the country and the revolution, true to the lofty intentions of the great leaders.

GFTUK Central Committee Chairman Ju Yong Gil (Chu Yo’ng-kil) read a report of the GFTUK Central Committee’s activities.  He said that “Kim Jong Un sent the letter to the participants in the 7th Congress of the GFTUK, thereby brightly indicating the duties assumed by the working class of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il before the times and the path to be followed by the trade unions” and he noted that “over the past period since the 6th Congress of the GFTUK, the organization had been further strengthened into the one of the leader and the party and it was the proud days in which the organization successfully performed its mission and duty in the grand revolutionary advance for ushering the new era of the Chuch’e revolution, the So’ngun (military-first) revolution.”  Ju Yong Gil’s report was followed by congratulatory remarks from the head of the Union of Korean Teachers in Japan’s delegation and speeches from GFTUK members.  The GFTUK Central Committee Report was adopted.

General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea [GFTUK] Central Committee headquarters building in east Pyongyang (Photo: Google image, NK Economy Watch).

General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea [GFTUK] Central Committee headquarters building in east Pyongyang (Photo: Google image, NK Economy Watch).

GFTUK Central Auditing Commission Chairman Sin Pong Ryol (Sin Pong-ryo’l) delivered a speech about the commission’s activities.  This was followed by a discussion and decision to revise the GFTUK’s rules and bylaws.  The GFTUK 7th Congress elected the GFTUK Central Committee and Central Auditing Commission.  The central committee held its first plenary meeting and elected its leaders.

View of participants at the GFTUK 7th Congress at the People's Palace of Culture (Photo: Korean Central Television).

View of participants at the GFTUK 7th Congress at the People’s Palace of Culture (Photo: Korean Central Television).

Ju Yong Gil was elected GFTUK Central Committee Chairman.  Elected as GFTUK Central Committee Vice Chairs were: Choe Su Dong [Ch’oe Su-dong], Pong Won Ik [Pong Wo’n-ik], Han U Phal [Han U-p’al], Kim Tong Son [Kim Tong-so’n], Choe Pong Man [Ch’oe Pong-man], Rim Chang Bok [Rim Chang-pok], Ri Chol Jun [Ri Ch’o’l-ch’un] and Kim Song Su [Kim So’ng-su].  Also appointed were GFTUK Department directors and the editor of Rodongja Sinmun.  Also publicized were results of the elections of the GFTUK Central Auditing Commission chairman and vice chairs.

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