[EDITORIALS]Union, Kia can share blame

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[EDITORIALS]Union, Kia can share blame

The prosecution has launched an investigation into an executive of the labor union at Kia Motors’ Gwangju factory who allegedly received bribes in return for his influence in employing contract workers. The case shows the moral corruption and abusiveness of a jaebol’s labor union. It also shows the weariness of management.
Labor unions at large companies have been abusing their power for a long time. Such a union decides the fate of a company by using the threat of job action. It also interferes with management rights. Many such labor unions have profited from operating welfare facilities and handling office inventories.
Now a senior executive at a labor union has meddled in a company’s hiring procedure, receiving tens of millions of won from job applicants. It is extremely shocking. A labor union may monitor a company to see whether its hiring process is fair. But it cannot violate a company’s personnel management rights, no matter how strong the union is.
After this scandal unfolded, 200 leading members of the five chapters of Kia Motors’ labor union said they would step down. But that cannot be the end of the story. More investigations must be conducted to see if other union members are involved.
A labor union is responsible for protecting the status and rights of contract workers. But this union was so corrupt that it was making money by selling jobs to them. Those responsible have become the blood-sucking nobility within the working class.
Kia Motors is also largely to blame for this incident. Such bribery would have been impossible if management hadn’t turned a blind eye to it. It is possible that the management has allowed the union member to intervene in the employment procedure as a compromise. If Kia survives with such management, it will be a miracle. The managers are largely responsible for this incident ― more so than the union. Such collusion between management and labor will eventually ruin a company. We feel pity for those who paid to join such a company, with such a corrupt union. Who will speak for them?
The prosecution must investigate whether the union has been systematically involved in the employment process. Management should also be probed for its weak-kneed attitude. And prosecutors must look at possible corruption at other factories, not just the one in Gwangju.
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