An illegal battleThe labor dispute at YTN, the only cable news channel in Korea, is spiraling out of control.
Since Gu Bon-hong, who served the Lee Myung-bak presidential campaign as a special media adviser, was appointed head of the company in July, the union has been doing everything in its power against him.
They say naming Gu to head YTN was a parachute appointment for the government to control the media.
The union is also using force to block Gu from entering the workplace. Gu has not stepped into his office for 62 days since his appointment.
Unionists hijacked the airwaves on Tuesday.
During a live news broadcast, union members sneaked into the main studio and held a demonstration. The unionists’ picket behind the newscaster was aired for a few minutes.
Their sign read, “We reject the parachute appointee who attempts to seize YTN.”
This was the first time that employees of a broadcasting station have held a demonstration during a live news program.
Twenty-three unionists have also refused to work in departments where they have been reassigned, in protest against Gu’s appointment.
The union has decided to hold a full strike and has started a collective vacation at different branches.
YTN is not owned by the union; the company is listed on the Kosdaq.
State-run companies like Korea Electric Power Data Network Co. are major shareholders of the company and the government should make human resources-related decisions.
It is wrong for employees to stage illegal strikes against a company president appointed at a shareholders’ meeting just because they do not like him.
YTN, as a cable news channel, has greater public responsibility than other companies. This is why it was inappropriate to appoint a person with close links to the president as its head.
However, the union’s behavior cannot be justified.
Their logic that the previous administration’s parachute appointment was right, but the Lee Myung-bak administration’s is not, is also inconsistent.
The situation at YTN is merely an illegal struggle by the union, which could harm the whole society’s sense of abiding by laws.
The government and Gu should quickly come up with drastic measures to normalize the company.