[EDITORIALS]Union should apply brakesThere is no justification for a strike by the labor union of the Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corp. to protest the extension of operating hours from midnight to 1 a.m. Fortunately, not many union members are expected to participate in the strike, which is set for Monday dawn, and with the mobilization of stand-by crews, the subways are scheduled to run on schedule. The union knows only too well that it would be stretching the public's patience too far if it overdid its protest.
Only subways within the city of Seoul have extended operations, as planned last Monday, due to the dispute among the city, corporation and the union.
Seoul officials and the National Railroad Adminstration seem to be busier trying to dump the blame on each other for delaying the extension than trying to find a solution. Subway riders should not expect a breakthrough anytime soon. Fortunately, most of the subway crew members that had opposed the extension have changed their minds. Most are participating in the extended operation, and the negotiations between the corporation and the union over adding staff and raising wages seem to have progressed to the point that a solution is in sight.
The subway union has shown that it wants nothing more than to flex its muscles and put on a show of its power. Moreover, it has not followed procedures, making this clearly an illegal walkout. Even more disappointing is that the two Seoul subway labor unions cannot reach an agreement between themselves, thus the Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transition Corp. union strikes without its sister union at the Seoul Metropolitan Subway Corp. Seoul has announced disciplinary action and penalties for the strike participants. It will mobilize 3,600 extra workers to run the trains.
Longer subway hours are welcome by many. The extension must be implemented as soon as possible in Suwon and Incheon. Walking out is no way to react to the situation when what is needed is for the city, corporation and the union to all step back a little and reach a rational agreement.