[EDITORIALS]Poorly timed strikesThe summer season of labor strife is causing losses for the country. Asiana Airlines pilots have been on strike for four days now, and medical workers walked off their jobs yesterday at a dozen hospitals. Korean Air pilots have given notice they may also go on strike beginning Friday. It is clear that they are trying to accomplish their goals by taking a toll on the people they serve, but the government cannot take any measures to prevent it.
Passengers and patients are not the only people suffering from the ongoing labor action. With the Asiana Airlines schedules for international and several cargo flights being cancelled in large numbers, export companies are downcast over delays in shipping and rising costs.
Four Asiana cargo flights heading for Europe and America were cancelled, holding up exports of 2,500 tons of semiconductors and cellular phones. The company explained that due to the cancellation of the flights, it would result in 170 billion won ($163 million) in losses.
According to the Korea International Trade Association, export by air last year was 32.8 percent of the total with a value of $83.2 billion. High value products such as semiconductors, cellular phones, liquid crystal display screens, computers and medicine were exported by air, and these products require prompt shipping. Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and Hynix are busy looking for substitute flights.
However, using non-direct flights or chartering planes raises the shipping costs by 20 to 30 percent, forcing tough decisions on companies.
Due to cancellations, passengers and companies are being held hostage. However, the 300 Asiana pilots who are on strike have had a barbecue party and went to the movies after a gathering. This is the strike of a “noble labor union,” a union that collected more than a billion won for its strike fund. Witnessing this, would the public applaud them?
Above all, the discomfort index of the public is high because of the bad economy and the rising real estate prices. It is not a welcome development for the unions to seek advantages by delaying exports and damaging the whole country, where the only hope is for a better economy.
The unions should know that a strike that is not supported by the people, even though it is legitimate, will not last long, and they will not win.