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Park Geun-hye Blasts Hyundai Strikers

Posted January. 16, 2007 03:01,   


Park Geun-hye, former chairwoman of the main opposition Grand National Party, slammed Hyundai Motor’s union for going on strike yesterday, saying, “This is the action of a public enemy.”

Park held a press conference at her office in Yeouido, Seoul yesterday and said, “Considering Hyundai Motor’s large scale, its walkout greatly disrupts the Korean economy,” adding, “Therefore, we should take an action and treat them as a public enemy.”

Park stressed, “I believe that there must be a principle in dealing with relation between labor and capital and anything illegal must not be involved in this process,” adding, “The dispute between labor and capital has been the country’s chronic problem that may be rooted out only when the nation’s leader assumes responsibility for it.”

Park also said, “Some civic groups are asking people to boycott cars from Hyundai Motor Co. now. This is not desirable either to labor or to management,” adding, “Hyundai’s walkout makes a great impact on the nation’s employment condition and economic growth, which will eventually push workers of its subcontractor factories who are paid less than half of their bonus out of the workplace.”

In regard to Park’s condemnation of the Hyundai union’s strike, her associates said that, “This statement is an expression of Park’s strong belief that illegal strike must be paid back with strict actions and punished in accordance with laws and rules.”

Some people also pointed out that Park used women’s typical emotional wording to tackle Hyundai’s strike as she did when President Roh Moo-hyun proposed an amendment of the constitution, in which Park criticized President Roh, saying, “A very bad president.”

To come up with ideas to control Korea’s labor and management dispute, Park’s economic advisory team is studying a labor and management relation model created by Margaret Thatcher, a former British prime minister serving in the 1980s, and explore ways on how to apply this model to the Korean situation. This study is currently headed by Kim Yeong-se, an economics professor of Yonsei University.

Meanwhile, Sohn Hak-gyu, former Gyeonggi governor, visited Hyundai Motor Co.’s Ulsan factory to persuade the union to end its strike and attempt to meet Union chief Park Yoo-ki. But union members blocked Sohn’s path to union office, saying, “Meeting with potential candidates of a presidential election has a risk of being used for political purposes.”

Sohn, however, said to union members of an exterior cooperation team that, “I know it is not easy. But, I would like you to resolve this dispute with a talk,” adding, “Please deliver my worlds to the union chief that we should not do anything that is likely to kill job opportunities.”

Instead union chief Park, Sohn had a meeting with Hyundai Motor President Yoon Yeo-cheol, and said that “Even though it is better to resolve dispute with a talk, sometimes stern action pays off. I would like you to deal with this dispute based on rules and laws,.”

In regard to this, Jeong Ho-jin, vice spokesman of Democratic Labor Party, said during a National Assembly briefing that, “Some politicians participated in a movement that is hurting Hyundai’s union now, which is going opposite to the nation’s hopes for a peaceful resolution of the Hyundai labor dispute, adding, “We had better keep low-key now.”