Futile fightsThe Korean Confederation of Trade Unions declared total war against the incoming government of President-elect Lee Myung-bak following the cancellation of the much-anticipated meeting between the president-elect and senior members of the labor union.
Union leader Lee Seok-haeng refused to appear at the police investigation after he was charged with participating at an illegal protest. The presidential transition team took issue with Lee and canceled the scheduled meeting.
Now the trade union is threatening to launch nationwide protests starting in Suncheon, South Jeolla to protect the rights of contract workers fired or employed by E-Land and the New Core Department store chain.
They are also threatening to launch another round of nationwide protests against the privatization of state-run companies by partnering with umbrella unions like the Korea Teachers’ and Educational Workers’ Union or the Korean Government Employees’ Union.
These threats are aimed at derailing the upcoming administration’s promise to overhaul the government sector.
We can only imagine the inconvenience of future labor-management disputes.
The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions should stop fighting for the sake of fighting. Everyone knows that the confederation is trying to gain the upper hand with the new administration.
The same goes with opposition to overhauling governmental organization. It’s no secret that the Korean public wants a smaller government.
What more needs to be said?
A labor movement without a cause is a meaningless fight. Labor unions are required to support the workers and their fundamental principles will be lost if they are obsessed with pointless political struggles.
Look what happened to the Democratic Labor Party, which was backed by the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. Voters completely abandoned the DLP in the recent presidential election.
Now the party is trying to extricate itself from the labor union in a struggle to survive. Whether you are a political party or a labor union, you will perish if you fail to read the public’s mind.
The labor union should return to the discussion table instead of crossing the line. If the labor union’s leader Lee is really eager to meet with President-elect Lee, showing up at the police station shouldn’t be a big deal.