Don’t stand in the way of jobs

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Don’t stand in the way of jobs

About 1,000 jobs are at stake at Hyundai Motor due to the labor union’s selfishness. In total, the union of the country’s largest automaker is blocking about 4,000 jobs, including those at parts suppliers.

The Jeonju factory line that assembles trucks needs to beef up output because it cannot meet orders. It can’t meet the orders since workers aren’t putting in full days.

Including overtime, the production lines operate for 11 hours a day. The factory therefore can turn out just half of its annual output capacity of 100,000 units.

The company decided to add a night shift to meet supply orders. It can run the factory lines at full capacity with a split shift of 11 hours each. The automaker decided to hire 1,000 new people, but cannot proceed due to strong protests from the labor union. The union is opposed to working in shifts.

It wants to keep the current single-duty period even with new hires out of fears of cuts in the workforce. It is worried that the company could downsize if orders decrease.

Whatever the reason, it is ridiculous to believe that new jobs could be lost because of the union’s opposition. The plan to increase jobs by reducing working hours is also under question due to the union’s protest.

Both ruling and opposition party candidates Park Geun-hye and Moon Jae-in proposed to increase jobs by cutting working hours, but few believe this could be feasible given the selfish nature of the labor union.

The recent move by the union underscores its expediency. If the union resists extending working hours despite higher wages, it most likely will protest a move to increases jobs through reduced working hours that could mean lower wages.

We understand the union’s concern for job cuts in the future. But it must consider that an increase in jobs is the society’s top priority at the moment. Young people in their 20s are without jobs in a country that boasts a per capita income of $20,000.

Symbiotic growth does not simply apply between large and smaller enterprises. It should be demanded of labor unions as well. We ask unionists to think of the people out there looking desperately for jobs.

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