The Associated Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) led by its President and Chairman Dr. Conrado F. Oca hailed the decision of two South Korean maritime unions – the Federation of Korean Seafarers’ Union (FKSU) and the Korean Maritime Seafarers’ Union (KMSU) – to consolidate their groups into one new federation. The two unions were at loggerheads for sometime over organizational issues that led KMSU to break away from KFSU in 2014.
To patch up their differences, and open the door for unity, top leaders of Asian seafaring unions (ASUs), met and drew up a unification plan for the two South Korean maritime labor groups. After a series of meetings, through a committee known as Korean Interim Seafarers’ Steering (KISSS) group organized by ASUs, the FKSU and KMSU presented their sides and needs, including the creation of a new constitution that will establish a “new one federation.”
The KISS panel began its task in Singapore in September 2016 to evaluate and monitor reconciliation developments. Last Aug. 3 to 4, the KISS group convened in Manila, winding off with a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) after two days of heated but productive discussions and interactions. The KISS panel included Mr. Thomas Tay as lead moderator; Ms. Mary Liew of Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU), Mr. Kam Soon Huat of Singapore Organization of Seamen (SOS), Mr. Yasumi Morita of All Japan Seamen’s Union (ASJU), and Dr. Conrado F. Oca of AMOSUP.
Both Chairmen Chung and Ha expressed satisfaction and contentment with the brokering job of KISS panel. “We had 11 rounds of meeting and the process was the very opportunity for both sides to understand each other, and to restore trust,” said KMSU’s Ha. For FKSU, Chung said the dialogues have narrowed the gaps. We would like to achieve ultimate unity, stressing, “We decided to open our arms more widely to bring back the separated organization to FKSU by convening the central committee, and adopting special resolutions and revise the rules. We are fully committed to unity and unification with open arms and open minds.”
The KISS panel was overwhelmed MOA , that took two heated, but productive discussions among the two Korean Unions before was inked by Chung and Ha. The issues included power sharing, financial matter and decision-making. The unity effort led to the re-affiliation of six other Korean unions to FKSU without pre-conditions.
The unity was expected for the holding of a “grand congress” this year, which was planned in the third quarter of this year.