[EDITORIALS]No solutions from strikersIn an e-mail message to the employees of the Korea Railroad Corporation, the auditor of Korail made a remark that seemed to support the labor union’s strike. He argued that the strike was organized to inform the people of the government’s policy on the public transportation system and Korail’s role in it. The argument is clearly against the position of the government and the president of Korail, who had announced that the corporation will deal with the illegal strike according to related laws.
Yet he insisted, “I cannot think of the strike as unjust,” and “Had the strike been political, it would have focused on the corporation’s debt issue.” He argued that the union’s demand for the government to resolve the railroad’s debt of 4.5 trillion won ($4.59 billion) was just. Then he added, “When the strike started, the worst player was not the government nor the management, but the conservative media.” He condemned the media, which had been critical of the union’s demands.
Of course it is difficult for the corporation to pay off the massive debt by itself because Korail has some structural difficulties. Thus, the government is also looking for a resolution. However, such a demand would have been persuasive had the union first showed an effort to solve the problem by itself.
It is absurd to demand that people’s tax money be used to pay off cumulative debts, while opposing managerial rationalization.
What were the demands the union aired as the reason for the strike? It demanded that 30,000 temporary workers be given full-time jobs, laid-off workers be rehired and more positions added, and that lines and stations that are losing money be closed. Because they think of increasing labor costs, while maintaining or leaving the chronic deficit as-is, the demands can never be accepted. The auditor’s claim that the union’s strike was just, after the illegal, unjustifiable strike was settled after much difficulty, is equally unacceptable.
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