[EDITORIALS]Take a tough stanceIt appears that the vote by the essentially illegal Korean government employees’ union on whether to hold a general strike will be foiled or halted.
The police have blocked the voting process, confiscating ballot boxes and slips after obtaining a warrant, and have arrested officials involved in the illegal activities. It is only right for the government to block collective action by the civil servants’ union, which is in violation of the law. The government must take a stern stance against the illegal activities of the union and must not compromise or turn a blind eye to its evasion of the law.
The union members must be deaf to the voices of the public, who have said, “If public officials go on strike, foreign investors will leave our country for good,” “Do not forget who pays your wages,” “If you want to be guaranteed the three labor rights, then give up your status as a public servant,” “You are labor, but management is the people,” and “Most people live in worse conditions than you.”
These statements lash out against the union’s proposed strike. The union must realize why its demands and actions are not appealing to the public.
The bill on government employees, submitted to the National Assembly, is a progressive one compared to other countries. Japan and Germany do not recognize the right to bargain collectively; while Britain and France recognize the right, they do not recognize its legally-binding power.
However, our country’s bill guarantees the right to organize, the right to bargain collectively and the right to reach a collective agreement. There is practically no country that grants collective action rights. Why are Korean public workers so eager to promote their interests when public officials in other advanced nations are in such a situation?
We live in a time when everyone has to struggle to make ends meet. People envy public officials for working normal hours and being paid without fail. Who would support a strike when public officials, who are in a comfortable position, demand more? Moreover, the union is going ahead with the general strike with the support of the militant umbrella union, the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions.
The government’s tough stance is a good thing. If public officials take collective action, who will maintain national order? The government must severely punish the organizers of the strike and union.