[EDITORIALS]The KEB union’s extremismThe labor union at Korea Exchange Bank has been blocking the bank’s president, Richard Wecker, from going to work for four days in a row, as part of its opposition to the sale of the bank. In the end, it has resorted to an extreme tactic: Not letting the president enter the building.
The labor union has the right to express its stance on such an important matter. If necessary, it has the right to act in proportion to the seriousness of its demands. But if it does, it must do so lawfully. Society will not accept a labor union acting beyond its legal boundaries. Some worry that the union may undercut the integrity of its cause by resorting to such measures.
In this sense, the KEB labor union’s struggle to prohibit the president from going to work has already gone beyond legal boundaries. No matter how much the labor union dislikes the current management, it has no right to prevent the president from doing his job. Strictly speaking, the act of obstructing a senior executive from going to work falls under the clause of obstructing duty and is subject to legal punishment.
Moreover, whether the bank will be sold is not something that could change due to employee opposition.
The rationale behind the labor union’s action is that it thinks that the U.S. fund Lone Star ― which is now the largest shareholder ― acquired the bank in a wrongful manner in the first place. However, this issue has been inspected by the Board of Audit and is now being investigated by prosecutors.
It is wrong for the labor union to dispute the justifications of the bank’s takeover even before a legal judgment has been made.
By using extreme tactics and taking up an issue that is something not worthy of discussion, the union is making it more difficult for the bank to be run. In the end, the union’s acts are virtually self-destructive and whittle away its own position.
If, by some chance, the KEB labor union thinks that the increasing sentiment against foreign capital in the government and political circles will allow it to perform illegal acts, it has made a huge miscalculation. The labor union’s drastic actions, which go beyond any sense of moderation, only create an image that Korea is the worst country in the world when it comes to labor-management relations. It will only cause foreign investors to turn on their heels and run.
Looking at a foreign bank head who has been shut out of his own bank by the labor union, would anyone want to invest in Korea?