[Letters] Deja vu

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[Letters] Deja vu

Nearly six months ago the nation was in turmoil over the deaths of protestors and police at a Yongsan redevelopment site. Accusations flew, and all sides seemed to have the burden of blame - the police for acting too quickly and the protestors for conspiring for violence.

Now once again we are faced with a similar dilemma.

For months now workers have been holed up in the Ssangyong Motor plant in Pyeongtaek fighting against perceived injustice.

They are reportedly prepared for a “battle” and their leadership has been quoted as saying, “Police will pay the price if they attempt to get in.” Tensions seem ripe for conflict as the Suwon District Court handed over an eviction order recently.

So with history seemingly on a course to repeat itself, how should the nation handle this situation? Should we blame the police for trying to evict them? Should we blame the workers for trying to protect their livelihoods? Or heck, maybe we should blame President Lee Myung-bak for some imagined slight the extremists will dream up?

The truth of the matter is, there is no easy solution.

We live in a nation that is, for the most part, subject to the markets and the global economy.

In this day and age, workers need to realize that there is no such thing as a job for life. And that the only solution to guaranteed employment is developing skills sets that are in demand.

While the nation sympathizes with any worker who loses their job, picking up sticks and bricks to fight your manager is not the solution. Instead, workers need to demand better training benefits for the unemployed, as well as possible commitments on being rehired should the market or industry recover.

Police must also be consistent in their enforcement of policies.

If one protest is allowed to continue for weeks, while another is stomped out in short order, the public is going to call into question the impartiality of the force.

Violent protests must never be tolerated, regardless of their political leanings, and the police and prosecution’s reputations should be closely scrutinized for uniformity.

So to those that are in the Ssangyong plant, I implore you, do not resort to violence. Do not employ the methods of extremists that have come before you.

Instead, act civilly and make your requests known ? the nation will respect you more for it.

Ed Foychuk,

business consultant, Seoul

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