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[Interview] Agenda after bank dispute settlement

Posted July. 12, 2000 14:37,   


It is very fortunate for the nation`s economy that the strikes by bank workers¡¯ union were brought to an early end through a dialogue between the government and the union with no serious repercussions on the capital market. In a striking contrast with the recent cases of frequent, social

conflicts, it was encouraging to see that the two parties made tenacious efforts, and displayed a rational manner, for a negotiated settlement as to result in a successful outcome.

Somewhat hasty patch-up of the dispute had to leave some unresolved details for later negotiations that have further conflict potentials.

Nevertheless, the settlement must be appreciated as a threshold to lay the foundations necessary for our pending agenda of financial reform.

Some riders to the settlement notwithstanding, the agreement between the government and the union for the legislation to set up a financial holding company has no small meaning because it signifies the securing of the means for a full-scale financial reform. The new holding firm system is regarded as a necessary means to effect changes in the ownership structures of debt-ridden banks so as to eliminate their unredeemable debts. The system is also thought to be necessary for the greater specialization of banking services as well as for making those banks a mega-sized, super bank to meet the international trend.

What we gained out of the negotiations is the fact that the government acknowledged some flaws in its control over banking sectors and assured the measures to address the issue. The government`s underhanded control of banks and financial institutions has in fact been a major reason for the bank employees` most serious grievance. Facts sustain their argument that the government`s financial control has been a leading cause for banks` heavy debts and insolvency.

In the wake of the settlement, therefore, the government is urged to bring about genuine changes in the execution of its financial policies.

Financial markets must solely be left to the inexorable laws of market with the exception of some extenuating circumstances. Thus, the pains we experience today must provide us with an opportunity to learn, and to root out, adverse effects of the government`s control over financial market.

Implementation of what is agreed, however, will challenge the government and the union with enormous amount of work to do as well as some critical humps to win over.

After the final negotiations, it is expected that the two parties` undertaking of the structural reforms for financial sectors will naturally accompany sacrifices and pains of the bank employees, even if the reform will not be a forced one. The process may entail fresh conflicts between the two parties. Their patience and tolerance are imperative here to resolve the issue.

An emphasis must be placed here on the need for social programs to provide jobs for those laid-off bank employees inevitably seeking a new career due to the structural reform. A viable alternative may be a development of fresh financial service sectors together with the five leading, industrial organizations` initiation of programs to have their enterprises employ the laid-off workers. The government and unionists are called upon here to bring their negotiations, with patience and dialogue, to a successful conclusion. To be sure, financial reform is the nation`s priority agenda to accomplish for the development of our market economy. Its beneficiary is none other than all our people. For that reason, we will keep a vigilant eye on their will and commitment to the reform.