A shocking text attackThe Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) has been bombarding public-sector representatives on the Minimum Wage Commission with intimidating texts and emails ahead of a review to set next year’s legal base rate for hourly pay. The text messages demand the public representatives step down for their responsibility for “worsening the livelihood of the workers and their families” by stalling minimum wage gains at the slowest pace over the last two years.
According to the victims, the KCTU has even opened a protest app, encouraging member unionists to join the text offensive. The members complain they cannot work due to the blitz of thousands of texts a day. The KCTU even hunted down workplaces of the members to hold protest rallies in front of the schools they work at.
Votes of public members of the Minimum Wage Commission can determine the results of the meeting between warring labor and employer representatives on the commission. The KCTU is free to express its opinion as the matter concerns workers. But harassing public representatives with organized text attacks is brutal and unjust.
The KCTU often resorts to a violent approach to get its message across. In a rally protesting the arrest of former KCTU chair Kim Myung-hwan two years ago, the umbrella union group threatened to overturn the Moon Jae-in government if it enrages the organization. The KCTU acts as if it was behind Moon’s victory through a snap election after massive rallies to oust former President Park Geun-hye. But intimidating means can no longer work. The KCTU has become haughty and self-important largely because of the government’s generosity. The law enforcement agency was benevolent about the KCTU even when its members assaulted police and raided employer’s offices. The government has fed its moral hazard. Freedom, authority and power become meaningless if they are not upheld properly.
While the KCTU engaged in a text bombardment, President Moon Jae-in in a press conference commemorating his fourth year in office advised a “decent debate” about text raiding by die-hard party supporters. “If the method of debate is disagreeable, people will turn their backs,” said the president.
Given the gravity of minimum wage in our society, we hope public representatives are not swayed by the text message attack. The government must hold the KCTU responsible if it really committed unlawful acts on social media.