On October 15, 2022, a young worker from the Korean bakery / fast food company « Paris Baguette » died at her workplace in Pyeongtaek, 65 kilometers south of Seoul. The young woman was grabbed by a giant blender in which she was pouring ingredients. To save time during the work, it seems that the management had the safety guards removed… The body of the victim was not found until the next morning, when her colleagues took him out of the machine. After which the management gave them the order to get back to work. Height of contempt, the owner of the company sent to the funeral of the young woman as a funeral wreath … a box filled with rolls!
This fatal accident occurred almost 30 years to the day after that of Mark Hopkins, who was electrocuted on October 12, 1992 in the McDonald’s restaurant in Manchester. There too, the safety rules were not respected, for financial reasons. The global emotion aroused by his death had sparked the organization of the week of solidarity with fast food workers for several years.
Since then, accidents – sometimes fatal – have followed one another regularly, in industrial bakeries as well as artisanal bakeries, the latest having occurred on September 22 in a family bakery in Meru in Paris Region, France.
The occupationnal accidents – in fact workplace killings – don’t make the newspapers’ headlines, they don’t spark massive outrage on social media, no famous writer will write a book to expose them, there won’t be public monitoring tool to tally the injuries and deaths at work. Because at work, we die in the general indifference of society, which is moved by animal welfare but does not want to know in what conditions the human animals that produce its food are treated.
However, these accidents never happen « by chance »: almost always, the cause is the owner’s non-compliance with safety rules, to improve his profitability, whether by increasing production rates or by not investing in safety equipment or safety training.
These accidents show that the State and the Law are useless and do not protect workers: all the industrial countries already have many laws which have been voted by deputies from the Right and the Left, and which in theory oblige the bosses to ensure the safety of the workers. In France for instance, the first State service to control that the bosses respect their obligations is even exactly 130 years old, it was created by the law of November 2, 1892. But every day workers die at work (1), which shows that neither the laws nor the state are of any use in protecting us against the voracious appetite for profit of the bosses.
If the workers want to ensure their safety, they can only count on themselves, by organizing themselves collectively and autonomously, without owing anything to the boss or the state. Against the use of dangerous machines or to demand protective equipment or training in prevention, direct collective action, in particular strikes or even the slowing down of production rates remain the best weapons at our disposal.
WORKPLACE ACCIDENT = CORPORATE TERRORISM /산업재해는 고용주의 테러다
What happened to this young worker can happen to us tomorrow, because we are subjected to the same working conditions under the pressure of profitability at all costs. The death of this worker in Korea should not be added to the long list of deaths forgotten by corporate terrorism. This is why we join the worldwide boycott movement initiated by the Korean public and the workers of this country against #ParisBaguette and the parent company #SPC, until serious security measures are put in place.
CNT- AIT (International Workers’ Association, anarchosyndicalist)
(1) On the 30th of November 2022, 318 dead at work in France only since 1st of January …
Original in French :