Threatened with massive lay-offs, Hyundai workers staged a desperate strike. Families barricaded themselves behind new Hyundai cars, tanks of petrol ready to burn the lot. Violence has flaired. At one point 15,000 riot police were poised to charge. A lot is at stake - over 1 million people have already lost their jobs this year. And with the IMF fiscal belt-tightening squeezing-out the welfare state, many are living on the streets. The capital's subways have become a no-go area for the police. Filming with a secret camera we find what they're afraid of. Bitter and destitute, the fallen huddle in corners sleeping with their children under newspaper. A former top executive tells us that people are dying everyday of cold. For S.Korea, the Hyundai Union confrontation is pivotal. If the unions are crushed here, they are crushed everywhere. Yet the tides of change are not with them. Sadly, the lay-offs go ahead, and Hyundai are left to weather the economic storm unimpeded. A poignant tale of a nation's people struggling to survive in economic turmoil.
Produced by ABC Australia