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Ex-Union Chief Blasts Labor Movement

Posted December. 01, 2006 06:37,   


Lee Su-ho, 57, who resigned as chairman of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) in October 2005 and who is currently a teacher in Seonlin Internet High School, voiced his criticism of the Korean labor movement’s constant power struggles and strikes for the sake of strikes.

In his article “You Are Our Milestone” written for the 70th birthday of Nam Sang-heon, a KCTU Direction Committee member, and published by Maeil Labor News, Lee criticized the labor world’s internal divisions while looking back upon his path as a labor activist.

He confessed he had taken part in power struggles within the labor world himself, saying, “I insisted on my own position like an activist and led divisions within the labor movement while backbiting other groups.”

“In election seasons, I did not hesitate to mate with anyone like a dog to seize power and I was not ashamed of kneeling down to big company labor unions to beg for votes,” he added.

Lee was also critical of the KCTU’s unceasing general strikes and the conflict between the KCTU and the Federation of Korean Trade Unions: “There are no more responsible negotiations, but only formal general strikes. The current government is trying to pass a bill to increase non-regular jobs and cut down the basic rights of workers, while we are divided and powerless.”

In a phone interview on November 30, Lee explained why he wrote the article. “Nam has worked for labor movement since the 1970s. On his 70th birthday, I wanted to look back and repent.”

He said, “Although I have not been concerned with the organization after resigning, I still have affection. As the KCTU is now in trouble, I wrote it to express my regrets and questions.”