[EDITORIALS]End this selfish actionThe national association of public servants went out on strike yesterday. Amid the turmoil, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions announced plans for a general strike today, signaling a clash between labor and government. The public servants and unionists' collective action is not only illegal, but also politically motivated.
The nation's public servants and unions are trying to push their interests, taking advantage of the government's weakness as this administration's term winds down.
More than 10,000 public servants took a daily leave collectively to press their effort to form a union. In South Gyeongsang province and Ulsan, only 30 percent of public servants showed up for work yesterday. Of the nation's 10,000 public servants, many came to Seoul to attend a demonstration. Such collective action by public workers was the first since 1989, when 1,500 teachers and support staff were fired for taking collective action.
Although the government urged the umbrella union to practice restraint, about 50,000 workers from 170 companies are expected to join the KCTU's general strike in protest of the five-day workweek bill. Facing the presidential election, the nation's governance has been experiencing disorder. The general strike, furthermore, will drive our economy into crisis.
Public servants are demanding their own union; the umbrella union is seeking to stop the five-day workweek bill from being approved at the National Assembly. Their demands have nothing to do with improving working condition or wages. They are insisting on collective action by abusing their power. That is an extremely selfish idea.
The two bills, concerning the public servant's association and the five-day workweek, are unlikely to be passed by the ordinary session of the Assembly, thus the public servants and unionists gain nothing from their collective action. The situation has reached this lamentable point because the government pushed its plans too far, too hastily.
The government must counter the illegal group action. The public servants' illegal action must be dealt with. Or else, official discipline will collapse.