Egregious perks

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Egregious perks

Unionized officials of local governments are too lazy and overindulgent. Grand National Party lawmaker Won Yoo-chul disclosed details of collective agreements involving union members of nationwide local governments that contained a discouraging array of illegal and preposterous benefits.

Union members, for instance, can expense travel at home and abroad as business trips, and senior-level officials can enjoy various liberties during work hours. In short, the agreements give these government employees license to work less, yet collect as many benefits as feasibly possible. Talk about a cushy job.

The Ministry of Labor recently concluded that 80 percent of the content of labor contracts involving the public service workforce is illegal. The details of these agreements, however, proved to be more egregious than we expected.

We cannot tolerate government officials - who more than anyone should abide by rules and promote ethics - violating laws under the shield of labor agreements.

The government has finally put its foot down on illegal activities by public servant union members, outlawing the Korean Government Employees’ Union that is headed by discharged civil servants. Now, it should look more closely into union labor contracts as well and take corrective actions to remedy the situation. When deemed unreasonable and illegal, the agreements should be nullified, and those involved should be punished.

Public officials enjoying wildly inappropriate benefits - some of which even surpass the perks offered at private companies - using taxpayers’ money cannot be accepted. What’s needed is more than a slap on the wrist, and punishments should be extended to local government heads who have turned a blind eye to this issue.

We cannot expect union members to act in the best interests of the public if local government heads condone these agreements. Voters and taxpayers should unite to oust government heads that conspire with union members and ignore the interest of the community. The political parties, both ruling and opposition, must cross off the names of the officials from nomination lists.

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