[EDITORIALS]Illegal union, illegal strikeThe Korea Government Officials Union, which has not been legalized, decided to take a poll this week whether to go on strike. That action is illegal and unlawful. It is deplorable that government officials are about to go on strike in addition to forming a union that the law does not acknowledge. There have recently been many illegal collective activities harming the nation’s principles, including a strike waged by the Korea Cargo Transportation Workers Union. If government officials, who are expected to abide by laws more than anyone else, take this course of action, we cannot help but be deeply concerned about the future of this country.
The union is saying that the government does not acknowledge the union and that the union’s three basic rights are not completely guaranteed. But the government has been contemplating a decision to legalize the union. Accordingly, it is unreasonable to take issue now with the government for not acknowledging the union or not coming to the negotiation table.
Apart from the previous governments that had not acknowledged even the words “a union for government officials,” the Roh Moo-hyun government is confident in granting to the union limited rights to negotiate and associate as much as the Korea Teachers and Educational Workers Union. Despite the public’s concern over the government’s stance, the union by demanding a complete guarantee of basic labor rights, is basically thumbing its nose at the public.
The officials union has been expected to contribute to reforming the way government officials work. But the union has been rather disappointing by meeting illegally, collectively asking for annual leaves, resisting provincial governments’ inspection on lower governments and blocking a mayor’s visit to district offices. This behavior shows they have forgotten their quintessential role to serve the public. The government should deal firmly and immediately with union officials considering a strike. The government should disclose its clear stance on the issue of legalizing an officials union and listen to what the people think on this matter.