[EDITORIALS]Labor confederation disappointsExpectations that the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions would return to the dialogue among labor, management and the government have been dashed. At a meeting of its representatives Thursday, a proposal to return to the Tripartite Committee of labor, management and government failed due to the lack of a quorum. It means that the internal conflicts within the umbrella union are serious.
The meeting’s atmosphere was said to have been highly political. A faction opposed to the current leadership monopolized the public address system for a 13-hour filibuster, and finally succeeded in making the vote futile.
This year, we have staked all our hopes on reviving the economy. People suffering under the long economic recession look forward to seeing economic revival. This sentiment the people has changed many things in our society. The president and the leaders of both the governing and opposition parties pledged to make this a year without political struggle. And businesses have shown positive attitudes toward investment in facilities.
High hopes were pinned on the proposal from leaders of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions to create employment through job sharing by shortening their working hours. People welcomed this, thinking that the unions at major employers had finally recognized the unemployment problem and the difficult lives of common people.
It is disappointing, therefore, that the confederation failed to return to dialogue. Even when labor and management stand together, economic recovery is not easy. When they are in dispute, how can we expect to revive consumption and investment?
At the meeting, hardliners called the idea of returning to the Tripartite Committee “surrender to the enemy.” This is a dichotomy. If they criticize “dialogue and negotiation” as “surrender,” how can we practice democracy? The confederation, to which both the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers Union and the Korean Government Employees’ Union belong, has strong influence in our society. But equivalent responsibility and duty follow it.
It has been learned that the confederation will hold another meeting of representatives next month to decide whether to return to the dialogue or not. It must respond to public expectations with a mature decision.