[EDITORIALS]Overtime refusal is misguidedThe Korean Confederation of Trade Unions has decided, as a token of protest against the impeachment of the president, to refuse overtime work every Wednesday at affiliated workshops. What connection is there between the impeachment and the refusal to do overtime work? It is even more embarrassing to hear that the union will launch a general strike if politicians try to postpone the April legislative elections. When did they say anything to that effect? Why does the union try to exaggerate the situation by making assumptions?
It is not clear to what extent the decision will be supported by union members at individual workshops. We are concerned that the confederation, one of the nation’s two umbrella unions, has adopted such a decision at a sensive time like this.
First of all, the decision is illegal. The Trade Union and Labor Relations Adjustment Act stipulates that all disputes ― other than those on wages, working hours, welfare, employment and other labor conditions ― led by the union are illegal. The passage of the impeachment motion has nothing to do with labor conditions.
It is wrong for the confederation to hold the workers’ right to work and business activity hostage for a political cause. If workers don’t have overtime, their income will decrease and businesses will fail to meet delivery schedules, which in turn will make businesses difficult to manage. Who will benefit from the overtime work refusal? For businessmen, the political uneasiness created by the impeachment is already a heavy burden. If overtime work refusal is added to that, they cannot sustain their businesses.
If labor relations are adversely affected by the impeachment, it can cause a shock to Korea’s international credit rating and the economy in general. If the union has decided to take illegal action under the present circumstances, it is out of ignorance of the reality of the Korean economy. If it is to demonstrate the union’s influence, it is even more wrong. We are afraid that the decision will spread to other civic groups because it could amplify social unrest and conflict.
The union must seek coexistence, instead of political struggle, by cooperating with management. Then, jobs will be created, workers will find jobs and the union will flourish.