[EDITORIALS]Another violent labor meeting

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[EDITORIALS]Another violent labor meeting

A general meeting of representatives planned for yesterday by the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions was cancelled because of the use of force by hard-liners. Members of the National Labor Struggle Committee occupied the platform before the start of the meeting and halted its progress by way of physical struggle. It was the third such disturbance this year. The disruption and feuding within the labor confederation has gone too far.
The organization’s executives say that the changing social climate leaves them with no choice but to negotiate with employers and the government. But the hard-liners in the National Labor Struggle Committee insist on a general strike. “A policy that favors negotiating will only weaken the labor movement,” they say. Because their numbers are fewer, they have said, they are willing to use physical force to stop a vote on whether to resume negotiations with employers and the government at the tripartite committee. Though the executives of the federation have said they would hold a meeting within a week, it is doubtful whether they will be able to do so.
The labor confederation is facing its biggest crisis in the 10 years since the organization was formed. There are signs that this strife will lead to the organization’s split. Its members are inflicting violence upon each other and disrupting their meeting’s democratic procedures. The series of violent incidents has cooled the public to the trade confederation. It has caused its own isolation.
With 600,000 members, the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions is one of the nation’s largest groups. For such an organization to lose its way would be a disaster. Though signs of an economic recovery have begun to appear this year, there is a limit to the number of jobs that corporate investment can create on its own. Job creation through a reduction of the workweek is also needed. The existing discrimination against irregular workers on short-term contracts will not be corrected unless the regular workers agree to it. The trade confederation is the key to all of those issues.
This organization should recognize what heavy burdens the economy will have to carry because of its internal conflicts. The National Labor Struggle Committee, in particular, should make it clear whether they are serving the labor movement or simply struggling for the sake of struggling, while taking our economy hostage.
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