[EDITORIALS]Unions lose if no legitimacyWith the Seoul subway unions ending their strike, following the actions of the Incheon and Busan unions, subway operations are starting to return to normal.
The walkout at the Seoul National University Hospital that had been continuing for a month and half has also drawn to a close, indicating that the annual “summer struggle” of labor unions has fizzled out.
The subway strike this year was significant in that it ended through voluntary arbitration, without any mobilization of public force.
The subway walkout had very little legitimacy. Although working hours had increased by only 10 percent with the implementation of the five-day workweek, the unions had demanded a 24 percent increase in the workforce and went straight into a walkout without any negotiations.
Certain union leaders pointed out how unreasonable the action was and a large number of union members dropped out, prompting an end to the strike.
The mature attitude of the commuters who suffered patiently in crowded subway trains also played a role in bringing the strike to an early end.
Only 11.4 percent of the Korean labor force is affiliated with unions. As their numbers grow smaller and their solidarity weakens, the unions are becoming more and more drastic in their actions.
We should make sure that such unreasonable labor unions disappear from our society. We shouldn’t let hard-line unions and “labor strugglers” ruin our economy any more.
The government should deal firmly with unions that habitually make irrational demands or engage in illegal acts so that the businesses can survive, the economy can survive and ultimately so that the laborers can survive.