Senseless demonstrationThe mood of the nation is muddled just before the presidential election, and it is worrisome to see a series of illegal strikes and demonstrations scheduled one after another. About 400 groups, including the Democratic Labor Party, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, the Korean Peasants League and the alliance of progressive civic groups, plan a large demonstration in central Seoul tomorrow.
The demonstrators are demanding that the free trade agreement between the United States and South Korea be withdrawn, that the non-regular workforce system be stopped, that Korea’s troops dispatched to Iraq be withdrawn and that the National Security Law be abolished. They also plan to hold a candlelight vigil in front of the U.S. Embassy ― we wonder what their real motives are.
The government banned the demonstration, fearing the traffic nightmare and public inconvenience. The groups, however, said they will go ahead with it, openly announcing their decision to violate the law.
The union of the Korea Railroad Corporation and unionized truckers will also go on a joint strike on Friday.
The railroad workers’ union demanded that fired employees be rehired, KTX train attendants be directly hired and that corporate restructuring be stopped. The demands go beyond ongoing negotiations.
The National Labor Relations Commission has been mediating the negotiation, and both union and management must follow the compromised proposal. Therefore, the strike is undeniably illegal.
The railroad union still owes 5.1 billion won ($5.6 million) to the company for its illegal strike last year, and it appears that the union has not learned a lesson from it.
The unionized truckers, who will join the strike, recently staged a disturbance at a highway rest area. It seems that organizations that despise law and order are all gathered together now.
Holding an illegal demonstration in an urban center, paralyzing railroads and stopping cargo transportation are actions that can destroy a nation’s order and harm the daily lives of the people.
On the eve of the presidential election, such actions are enough to disrupt society’s stability. The government must sternly punish the violators this time, rather than simply giving strong verbal threats.
Because the government has handled the situation poorly, resorting to violence has become a trend.