[EDITORIALS]More Strikes, More Problems

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[EDITORIALS]More Strikes, More Problems

Tension is mounting at industrial sites as the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions declared a one-day general strike Thursday. This time, some unions at large automotive, shipbuilding and heavy industrial firms seem set to join the walkout, a development which could cause serious turmoil. The confederation said it will rally on Saturday to call on the administration to step down and will assemble 100,000 workers from around the country in Seoul for a demonstration on July 22. We are in for a long labor struggle.

Our industries have been exhausted by constant conflict, and economic recovery is the most urgent task we face. Workers are not entirely responsible for the current economic stagnation, but they must understand that they must cooperate to overcome current problems. We urge the workers to avoid a hard-line policy that will damage our economic performances and international credibility. We call on the workers to negotiate for mutual survival. There will be more jobs and no more layoffs only if our economy survives.

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions should stop violent street demonstrations that hurt store owners and consumers. Shopkeepers in Jongno and Myeongdong say they cannot do business because of the demonstrations. Do unions think they have the right to drive shopkeepers out of business?

The confederation's political demands, such as its call for the administration to step down, are mischievous and damage the labor movement's credibility. Dan Byung-ho, head of the confederation, said at a press conference Thursday, "I will voluntarily appear before the police if the government withdraws the order to arrest confederation leaders and arranges a meeting with the president." Such a demand by a wanted man is abnormal, suggesting that he is above the law.

Inconsistent government policy and the business community are both responsible for recent events. The government has worsened the situation by failing to respect principles while saying it would take stern legal action against unlawful union activities. The business community should also ponder why labor turned radical.
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