[EDITORIALS]Union monetary policyIt was unheard of for a member of the Monetary Policy Committee to sign a written pledge to union workers of the Bank of Korea. The labor union at the central bank had blocked the way to the office of Kim Jong-chang, a new Monetary Policy Committee member, for several days “in protest of the parachuting of a former government official into a position on the committee.”
But then Mr. Kim signed a letter promising to set up monetary policy independent of the government and leave his office when his term expires. Both the labor union and Mr. Kim have disappointed us.
The first one to blame is the bank’s labor union. Scores of members physically blocked a Monetary Policy Committee member’s access, and this is not the first time such a thing has happened.
They have the right to raise questions about the independence of the committee, and it is true that the government tends to regard the membership position as seats for former government officials.
But regardless of the reason, it is an affront that the labor union employed violent tactics to make an issue out of the qualifications of a person appointed by the administration. Appointments are beyond the labor union’s rights in public agencies as well as in private companies.
It is also hard to defend Mr. Kim’s actions. He even visited the labor union’s office to sign the pledge. By that act, he has given up his authority as a member of the Monetary Policy Committee.
Members that are bent on retaining their positions rather than keeping their honor are responsible for the fact that Korea’s Monetary Policy Committee does not have as much authority as the U.S. Federal Reserve Board has.
The repercussions of the event might not be trivial. It might not end as an individual action by Mr. Kim, but could be a precedent that would aggravate the relationships between Korea’s labor and management, which are already bad.
What if other labor unions frequently demanded such pledges by new executives? Because of such arrogance of the labor unions, foreign companies are reluctant to invest in Korea.
We doubt that Mr. Kim is qualified to be a Monetary Policy Committee member.