Anti-FTA strike is senselessThe Korean Confederation of Trade Unions said it will go into a full force demonstration from June 25 to 29 to stop the free trade agreement between Korea and the United States. The umbrella labor group will engage 16 industry-specific labor unions that are under its wing and conduct protests and strikes.
Lee Seok-haeng, chairman of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, said the FTA between Korea and the United States will “greatly damage the Korean economy” and that the group is gearing up for an all-out protest to “save laborers from the disaster.” His words are truly unjustifiable and self-contradictory. On what grounds does he say there will be damage and disaster?
If we look at the results revealed from the Korea-U.S. FTA negotiations, we can predict that the agreement will notably increase exports [to the United States] of industrial products. That means that large companies who export industrial products will become the main beneficiaries of the Korea-U.S. FTA. Naturally, the workers at these conglomerates will benefit as well. The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions is encouraging labor unions of these large companies to throw aside their “rice bowls” and participate in a protest to ruin the “rice cooker” itself.
Instead of saving laborers from disaster, they are encouraging workers to fall into a self-dug pit. They are suspected of being political because they are asserting things that go against the interests of labor groups.
The most representative case is the Hyundai Motor labor union, which faces a vote on whether or not members want to participate in a strike. Hyundai Motor is one of the greatest beneficiary companies of the FTA and has, until now, revelled in a near-monopoly of the domestic market. It is unbelievable that the labor union of this company would conduct a strike opposing the FTA with the United States.
The executives of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions must immediately withdraw their unjustifiable political strife.
If they do not and press forward, the union members themselves should stop this rash political combat.