Illegal strikeIt looks like that the Korean Railway Workers’ Union and the Korea truckers’ association will engage in a general strike today.
Without a doubt, this strike is illegal because under current law, when the government is trying to bridge differences between management and the union, a strike cannot be called. Nevertheless, the union is arguing that this particular law will cease to exist next year and it has pushed for a strike.
The new amendments and laws regarding labor unions and labor-management relationships become effective next year.
Thus, the current law is still very much in effect.
In addition, the new laws, while abolishing the clause that says that strikes are illegal while the government is mediating, will stipulate that unions of key public workplaces, such as railways and hospitals, can only strike while maintaining their key functions.
In addition, 50 percent of the workforce needs to be replaced to keep the workplace intact. This means there cannot be a general strike and key work functions must be maintained. If the union is allowed to skirt the current law because there is little time left on the calendar, then the union should at least refrain from engaging in a general strike and try to comply with the new amendments.
Nevertheless, the railway union is ignoring current law and is not keeping up with the new changes. This shows that it does not like either law, new or old.
Furthermore, the Korea truckers’ association is not a union. It is an organization made up of individual businessmen. Thus, it does not have the right to strike and any strike by this organization is illegal. It makes no sense that these two groups, whose composition are totally different, are joining in a general strike.
We do not deny the right of the union to strike. But general strike will halt the trains and could result in a big transportation mess. If it must happen, it should be done within the limits of the law.
This bad practice of trying to engage in illegal strikes needs to be stopped.