Cops must stand up to rabid unionsKorea is often called a “Republic of Labor Unions” due to their unimpeded muscle-flexing during labor disputes and other types of conflict. Members of the militant Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) recently used violence against a company executive in broad daylight. The police officers at the scene just looked on.
At YPR, a Hyundai Motor contractor in Asan, South Chungcheong, as many as 50 members of a union affiliated with the KCTU broke into the office of the YPR CEO last Thursday. A dozen of them attacked their managing director after locking him in. They also hurled vile insults at him. The incident took place after the company went through wage negotiations with a new union, instead of the one under the KCTU.
About 20 police officers arrived on the scene after the company called the police six times. But they sat on their hands for almost 40 minutes. The managing director suffered serious injuries, including a broken nose and broken teeth: he will have to be hospitalized for 12 weeks.
We wonder why the local police reacted to extreme violence in such a passive way rather than immediately arresting the union members involved. The company sent a letter complaining to the chief of the local police for dereliction of duty.
The police came up with the excuse that they could not enter the office of the CEO because union members had blocked their entrance. The police also said that they could not hear the managing director’s cries for help due to the union members’ wild chants. Given the context, however, we are convinced that the police had no intention of controlling them from the beginning.
Another question is the KCTU’s habitual use of violence. Members of the mighty umbrella union occupied seven government offices over the last three months. The police showed a lethargic reaction to the violence: why is that? That’s most likely because police officers behave carefully. Their legitimate exercise of public authority has come under attack since the liberal Moon Jae-in administration came to power last year.
Of course, the primary responsibility for the violence against the managing director falls on the members of the KCTU. But the government also should be held accountable for allowing the violence.
In a society based on the rule of law, the government must punish violent unions without exceptions. If the Moon administration wants to adhere to some ideology, it will backfire.
JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 28, Page 34
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