Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Wednesday, 5 August 2009 14:57 UK

Commandos tackle S Korea strikers


Police gain access to the roof using a container box lifted by a crane

South Korean police commandos have dropped from helicopters to try to end a factory sit-in by sacked workers demanding to keep their jobs.

More than 500 workers have occupied the main car plant of Ssangyong Motors for more than 10 weeks.

For a second day, police battled laid-off workers armed with metal rods and throwing projectiles.

Ssangyong is under court-approved bankruptcy protection and is trying to cut thousands of jobs to stay afloat.

Police said about 50 people were injured in Wednesday's clashes.

The commandos dropped by rope from helicopters while others were lowered in a shipping container onto the roof of one of the paint shops.

Other police commandos charged the building with ladders.

Fire risk

The police have now cleared most of the factory at Pyeongtaek, 70km (43 miles) south of Seoul, but a hard core of workers remains in one of the paint shops at the complex, officials said.

Police have been worried about sparking a fire at the paint shops, where highly-flammable materials are stored.

Worker occupying Ssangyong car plant throwing fire bomb - 5 August 2009
Workers fought back with fire bombs and other projectiles

Ssangyong has laid-off more than 2,600 workers, about one-third of its labour force. About 1,600 have accepted voluntary redundancy but the others decided to occupy the plant.

Negotiations to end the occupation broke off on Sunday, with the union representing workers rejecting a management proposal to reduce the number of layoffs.

The union insists that no workers should be dismissed.

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