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[Editorial] KCWF Does Not Have Cause for Its Second Strike

[Editorial] KCWF Does Not Have Cause for Its Second Strike

Posted August. 21, 2003 21:31,   


As the Korean Cargo Workers Federation (KCWF) yesterday went on general strike again, another disruption of the nation`s logistics is expected. The KCWF went too far in their demands, in the light of market principles and the current legal system.

The strike came as the independent cargo workers` talks with the representatives of bulk cement trailer (BCT) firms broke down. According to the government, the cargo workers demanded a 30-50% increase in BCT carriage. However, even with a 30% increase, the BCT companies say they cannot but close shop. Though the BCT companies` argument is somewhat farfetched, cargo workers` demand for a 30-50% increase is too much.

And the cargo workers are asking for a collective agreement while the BCT companies are opposed to it, saying that the KCWF is not a trade union but an association of self-employed workers. There can be debates over whether the independent cargo workers are workers who belong to BCT firms or they are self-employed. However, under the existing law, they are self-employed workers. Even if the independent cargo workers` argument is right, it is not enough cause for the strike, which will has an enormous economic impact on the economy, by paralyzing the nation`s logistics system.

The KCWF already gained a lot of things by staging a strike in May. The government promised to offer 73 billion won in subsidy from taxpayers` money to offset the increased gasoline tax fully in the second half of this year. And it also decided to increase reduced toll hours for freight cars. At that time, the government and the cargo workers` association reached agreement on 11 points, five out of which have already implemented and six points are being underway. Though there have been indications that the government made a lot of concessions, Korean people have not voiced opposition strongly, conscious of the situations of members of the KCWF. Now, they are to reward the people with another strike.

Even the KCWF announced that it was well aware of people`s critical eyes on the strike, because of its detrimental impact on the Korean economy and because this was a second time. Therefore, it should stop the strike for which it does not have cause. The sooner, the better.