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[Editorial] Government Should Act with Firm Discipline against Illegal Strike

[Editorial] Government Should Act with Firm Discipline against Illegal Strike

Posted February. 26, 2002 10:15,   


The strikes of the unions in the national basic industries, such as railroad, electricity, and gas services, are illegal actions to stop the government`s privatization plans through the paralysis of public transportation and the interruption of energy supply. The privatization of the state-funded enterprises is not an object of labor-management negotiation. Moreover, the unions did not stand 15-days arbitration period and launched their strikes, including the strike of the electricity sector which is unparalleled anywhere in the world. Thus, the people`s response to these strikes are very negative.

Although the negotiations of the Korea Gas Corporation were settled, the union and management decided to negotiate the time and method for the privatization in the future. Therefore, the agreement might lead the modification or delay of the privatization plan.

Only six countries, China, Russia, Indo, Sri Lanka, and South and North Koreas have the state-run railroad system, and none of the advance countries manage the electricity and gas businesses, except nuclear energy, as state-run enterprises. The best way to reform the state-run enterprises, which pressure the national finance with their insolvent and ineffective operations, is to privatize them. It is no exaggeration to say that the future of Korean economy depends on how the government will cope with the joint strike, which is led by the Federation of Korean Trade Unions and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions.

If the government and National Assembly make a concession by the illegal strike of the unions in national basic industries, all of the restructuring plans for the public sectors, including the privatization plan, will be suspended, and the nation will suffer with the chronic problems of the inefficiency of the state-run enterprises and of the strike, as the case of England in the 70s. The government should follow the example of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who cured the `English disease` through the privatization of the state-run enterprises and stern actions against unions` strikes. Being gazed steadily by foreign presses and economic circles, if the government yields to the striking unions, the result will give an irrevocably negative effect to the national credibility.

Although the strike is a right of the workers, an illegal strike that violates legal procedures and regulations cannot be protected by the law. The police and prosecution should apply the law strictly to the strike organizers and the union members who used violence.