[EDITORIALS]Punish the scofflawsThe nation’s official discipline has been shaken greatly. The Korean Government Employees Union, a labor union of low-level civil servants, mounted a strong personal attack against acting President Goh Kun yesterday. It also replied to administration leaders who warned that the union had violated the law obliging civil servants to be politically neutral, saying, “Give whatever warnings you wish. Still, we will violate the law.”
If civil servants behave in such a unreasonable and obstinate way, violating the law, then how can the nation’s laws be observed? And who will defend a union that makes libelous remarks about the acting president?
The union is the largest civil servants’ union, and includes 130,000 rank-and-file government employees nationwide, excluding police officers and teachers. The head of the union made insulting remarks yesterday against the acting president in an open letter that was posted on the Web page of the Democratic Labor Party. It was reacting against Mr. Goh’s warning that the government would punish the union for violating the law requiring political neutrality during an election period. The leader of the union called Mr. Goh “a spineless expert in administration,” “a master of political disguise” and “a retired old man.”
The Constitutional Court and the National Election Commission have already warned the union that it violated the election campaign law. If so, it should have said that it would not violate the law any more. To which country does this civil servants’ union belong, that it stubbornly disregards the decisions of the authorities? How can the civil servants of a country trample on its law?
We believe the union has gone out of its mind. It is astoundingly arrogant.
The nation’s foundations are in peril. The government should punish this kind of organization that acts collectively to violate the law. The government should not just repeat warnings that civil servants should be politically neutral; it should start indicting violators.
The law that prohibits political campaigning by bureaucrats is not a dummy law. If civil servants act collectively to help a particular party, then it means that a fair and just election is out of reach.