[EDITORIALS]Government’s bad decisionThe strike at Chohung Bank was settled, fortunately, without violence. But the settlement of the walkout sets a bad precedent, because the government accepted many of the bank’s labor union's unreasonable demands. The idea that governs many trade unions -- “If we push, the other side will be pushed” -- proved true. In addition, the government was ambiguous on several points in the talks with the Chohung labor union, opening the chance of another labor dispute.
The walkout by Chohung Bank’s unionized workers over the sale of the bank was illegal, with the bank’s customers and the financial network held hostage. The government declared that it would take strong measures against the strike. But, the result of the strike shows that the labor union won. The government had already yielded to the union, by participating in negotiations to settle the illegal walkout. Through the strike the labor union achieved substantial gains. It got a guarantee of employment, a sharp increase in wages and other benefits.
Even some points regarding management of Chohung Bank, such as “officials from Chohung and Shinhan should assume an equal number of posts as executives in the holding firm,” were stipulated at the request of the Chohung labor union. This is hard to understand, even ignoring global standards. In addition, a committee will be formed with an equal number of members from Chohung and Shinhan in two years to discuss whether to merge the two banks, although such an issue should be made by the executives of the buyer of Chohung, Shinhan.
Deputy Prime Minister Kim Jin-pyo said, “The government abided by the law.” That is a dumb remark. Many interest groups are planning for collective action this summer. Some of their activities will be illegal, and many of the groups are pressing exorbitant demands. The government should not settle these cases as it did the case of Chohung Bank. The government should recognize that unless it is loyal to the law, principles and consistent standards, relations between labor and management will not be normalized and the economy will not recover.
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