The moth prophecyThe strike by the bus drivers of Daejeon City ended yesterday. The bus drivers’ labor union bowed to the city’s enraged residents.
The residents decided they would rather put up with some inconvenience than see the city give in to unreasonable demands by the labor union.
The labor union of the Daejeon City buses, which is partly public, demanded unreasonable pay raises from their employer Daejeon City, and went on strike.
Worried about possible chaos in traffic, the city authorities wanted to compromise with the labor union’s demands.
The labor union must have expected that to happen.
But it was different this time.
Citizens stepped in. They realized that a pay raise in a quasi-public company means an increase in expenditure by the city, which means that the citizens would have to pay more in taxes.
They also learned that the quasi-public management system was run loosely and carelessly.
The citizens demanded that the city authorities should not compromise with the labor union and pressed that the quasi-public management system be reformed or abolished entirely.
As a result, the labor union waved a white flag. A united group of citizens have put a stop to the bus drivers’ practice of staging illegal strikes.
The strike exemplified the irrationality of militant labor unions who fail to win support from ordinary citizens.
In a lecture yesterday, Lee Yong-deuk, the president of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, said that Korean labor activists are mistaken if they think they can do any good by taking militant action without considering the consequences.
He declared that the labor movement in Korea has failed completely.
This is a confession that Korea’s labor movement is facing a crisis.
The labor movement cannot move forward when union members and citizens do not support it.
Although Kia Motors has seen a deficit for two straight years, its labor union went on strike to oppose the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement and now it has gone on strike again, demanding a pay raise.
Citizens and consumers are turning their backs on them. They might lose their jobs, but unionized workers still plunge into strikes like moths flying into flames.