Early Settlement in Auto Strike is Solution

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Early Settlement in Auto Strike is Solution

Tension are rising over the labor strike at the nation's four largest automobile companies, Hyundai, Daewoo, Ssangyong, and Kia.

Daewoo has asked for more government intervention, as the organizers of the walk-out were arrested by public prosecutors.

An announcement was made by 11 ministries, warning labor unions to curb the illegal strikes or face severe punishment.

The strike, which started April 6, is scheduled to end on April 12. The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) is saying that it will continue to oppose the sale of Daewoo to a foreign company. More walk-outs and anti-government rallies will likely be held in the month of May, following the general elections in South Korea.

The labor strike is hurting this country, its automobile industry, its economy, and its people.

The strike at Daewoo is to oppose the government's plans to sell the troubled automaker to a foreign buyer. The union fears that massive lay-offs and foreign domination of the domestic auto industry could be on the horizon after such a sale.

Unfortunately, the government can no longer spend money to keep Daewoo afloat. In addition, zenophobia has no place in a free-market society.
The unions could lower Korea's international credit rating and affect other subsidiaries in the process. Hyundai, being the only domestic company invited to bid for Daewoo, has no place joining the strike and bringing more confusion on the eve of the general elections.

On the government's part, compromise should not be ruled out, considering the importance of the auto industry to this country. The government should make substantial long-term plans to safeguard the industry, to increase foreign investment and to improve Korea's international credit rating.

by Kevin Reardon

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