[EDITORIALS]End the strike quicklyThe predicted great disturbance in the airline industry is becoming a reality. Yesterday, the second day of a strike by the pilots of Asiana Airlines, domestic flights and international cargo flights were cancelled. Tourists who have been planning their summer vacations have fallen victim to the strike that began at the start of the summer vacation season.
The airline is using non-union and foreign pilots, but it seems that problems on international routes are unavoidable. If the strike continues, one has to wonder what may happen to airline safety. Out of 138 articles under negotiation, management and the union have failed to reach agreement on 78 points. This shows the wide gap between the two parties.
Some of the union’s demands, such as no drug and alcohol tests of pilots before a flight, are unreasonable. This means at the end that pilots are asking to be allowed to fly while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. In addition, articles that infringe upon personnel and management rights leave little room for the company to back off, and make negotiations even harder.
Not yielding an inch in a bid to gain everything at once is not the right negotiating attitude. In this regard, the company’s lax attitude, banking on the naive belief that the union would not stage a strike while maintaining a headstrong negotiating attitude, should also be criticized.
Even if the strike is legal, pilots need to know that the public is not looking favorably on a walkout by people whose average annual salary is 100 million won ($97,000). While many ordinary people are suffering from a sluggish economy, inconveniencing the public in order to benefit themselves will only bring about criticism.
In addition to the 2.5 billion won daily loss caused by the strike, who is going to compensate for the falling credit rating of the country caused by the failure to export electronic products on time?
Not only the strike by pilots of Asiana Airlines but also a solidarity strike by key officers of Korean Air’s pilots’ union and expected strikes by the hospital workers’ and metalworkers’ union all point to labor disputes with no immediate end in sight.
With communication between the labor unions and the government blocked, if the current situation is prolonged the people and the country’s economy will be victimized. The union and management need to end this strike quickly through negotiations.