[EDITORIALS]Labor’s unreasonable demandsFour days have passed since the bus driver labor unions of the Daegu and Gwangju areas went on strike. As the public transportation system came to a halt, numerous people have been reporting late to work or school.
Whatever the rationale behind the general strike, the fact that the labor unions flexed their muscles, using the public as their hostage, is regrettable.
What is even more maddening is that the union isn’t focusing on negotiations with management but instead is pressuring the provincial government to introduce a new operational system of the bus companies.
Under the new system, profits from the bus companies will be managed together with the provincial governments. If the companies lose money, provincial governments have to make up the shortfall, while any profit will be used to improve facilities. For the labor union, it’s a solution to save the companies that have been losing money and still get their double-digit wage increase.
The problem is that the cities of Daegu and Gwangju are currently already pouring in 20 billion won ($17.1 million) and 8 billion won, respectively, to their bus companies annually. Under the new proposed system, Gwangju would need to spend an additional 20 billion won. The labor unions are simply asking to use tax money to make up for their companies’ losses.
Such nonsensical talk is the result of the thoughtless behavior by the Ministry of Construction and Transportation. On May 18, while negotiations between the labor unions and management were under way, the ministry suddenly ordered the introduction of the new system. Labor unions and management were suddenly saved, while the provincial governments that do not have the financial ability to cope with such orders found themselves in a deep hole.
The government has to acknowledge its mistake and nullify its previous order. Instead of waiting for provincial governments to rescue them, bus labor unions and management have to undergo restructuring and try to find a way by themselves to survive.
If the labor unions’ demands are accepted, it will not be permanent solution. It’s merely a band-aid solution, one that shouldn’t be considered seriously.