[EDITORIALS]We have reached the limitThe strike by Chohung Bank’s union to protest the sale of the bank is a shameless act of selfishness. The strike follows the submission en masse of letters of resignation by union members, sporting shaved heads.
They do not seem to care about the inconvenience to customers and the economic instability the strike could bring. Although the option of negotiations must not be eliminated, the government should bring the situation to an end according to the law, using force if the union continues the illegal strike.
The union’s opposition to the sale of the bank made no sense from the beginning. It is absurd for the union to hold sway over a bank that was bailed out by the government due to huge losses. The union insists on a partial sale of the bank rather than the sale of all the state-held shares, but a partial sale would translate into a sale at a giveaway price, which the union was concerned about, because a premium for management control is not included in the price. The government cannot accept this; it must recoup as much of the public funds pumped into the bank as possible.
The union might fear the potential downside of restructuring, but the government has promised to guarantee employment and improvement in working conditions. If the union rejects the government offer and tries to paralyze the bank’s computer system, an outflow of deposits and a deterioration in the situation would put the bank and the union in a more difficult position. Action by the more extreme Federation of Korean Trade Unions and the Korea Federation of Financial Labor Unions is also a concern. The public will not agree to a series of demands made by labor organizations.
The situation at Chohung Bank is a test of our willingness to restructure the economy and influences Korea’s creditworthiness. The government should quickly wrap up negotiations with Shinhan Financial Group and devise measures to protect the computer system and prevent ruin of the bank.
This strike marks a critical moment for the government’s labor policy, with labor strife expected this summer. The government cannot make further concessions.