[EDITORIALS]Hold firm on ChohungThe government is right to deal with the strike at Chohung Bank strictly under the law, despite the huge exodus of money from Chohung accounts and the paralysis of its sales operations.
President Roh Moo-hyun yesterday said the strikers would be dealt with strongly and that the unjust demands of the labor union showed that the labor movement was losing a sense of morality and responsibility. The about-face was unprecedented for a fledgling administration. Mr. Roh is behind the change. As president-elect, Mr. Roh vowed to “correct the imbalance in power between [labor and management].” His new position shows a considerable change on the issue over the past months, although he spoke of a need for a change in how unions addressed labor issues.
Labor has often taken a hard-line position, going beyond acceptable activity, boosted by the current government’s pro-labor policies. The strike at Chohung Bank is a typical case, which has not gained the sympathy of the general public. Chohung’s union should listen attentively to the criticism of the Citizens Coalition for Economic Justice.
Europeans’ attitude on strong labor action has changed, which shows that intractable positions could lose public support. The French public is strongly criticizing a union strike to protest pension reform, which is unparalleled in French history. Long-established pro-labor policies in Germany, in which workers intervene in management, are being criticized for dampening the nation’s economy by putting excessive weight on promoting equality. Hostile labor-management relations here make it difficult to strengthen national competitiveness.
Germany and France have altered their labor policies through numerous mistakes. That does not mean that Korea must follow in their steps. The government should accept the fact that dealing with the Chohung labor union strike will serve as the turning point in determining the direction of its labor policies. Changes within the government in dealing with strikes should be put into practice immediately.