[EDITORIALS]Another crisis mishandledThe truckers’ transportation stoppage is spiraling into further confusion, giving rise to serious concern about the government’s ability to handle crises. The clash between Freight Solidarity, an independent truckers federation, and container transportation firms arose from the fact that the number of trucks has increased greatly compared to the volume of freight. In principle, this problem should be solved between the two parties.
That is why the JoongAng Ilbo has asked the government not to intervene too strongly. However, given that this situation is in fact the consequence of an intervention last May gone wrong, and given its enormous impact on the economy, the government should have prepared a plan and hurried to stabilize the situation. Unfortunately, it did neither.
After the walkout in May, the Ministry of Transportation and Construction asked the Ministry of National Defense to quintuple the number of army personnel assigned to support the transportation system in case of another emergency. This request was turned down. Only now does the government discuss plans to introduce systems that would suspend or cancel the licenses of those who purposely obstruct transportation, and order truckers back to work. Had this already been in place, the damage could have been less.
The government must refrain from influencing wage bargaining, but it must encourage good-faith negotiations. At the same time, it must speed up mobilization of substitute drivers to lessen the effects of the truckers’ illegal actions. It must come up with ways to bring back the truckers who are not part of Freight Solidarity. Police must also be mobilized to stop strikers from damaging vehicles and bullying those who return to work.
We must also prevent this from happening again. The truckers’ legitimate demands must be answered, but Freight Solidarity’s illegal actions must not go unpunished.