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Gov’t should not be idly watching trade union’s unlawful occupation

Gov’t should not be idly watching trade union’s unlawful occupation

Posted February. 16, 2022 07:41,   

Updated February. 16, 2022 07:41


It has been 50 days since the parcel delivery workers’ solidarity union went on strike on December 28, 2021. The union has been occupying the CJ Logistics’ headquarters and continuing to strike. The prolongation of the strike is due to labor-management conflict over the implementation of a social agreement on measures to prevent delivery workers from dying from hard work, which was concluded last month.

The delivery workers’ union cites unfair distribution of a raise in delivery fees last year as the grounds for a long-term strike. On the other hand, the company refutes that the union’s calculation of a delivery fee raise is erroneous and that it had apportioned half of the raise to delivery workers’ commission fee. Although this argument by the company needs to be substantiated, the social agreement concluded between labor and management eight months ago was focused on working conditions, such as exempting delivery workers from sorting parcels and ensuring that they work no more than 60 hours a week. The allocation of delivery fees was not promised under the agreement.

Furthermore, delivery union members committed unlawful acts by using force against 30 CJ Logistics’ union members in the process of occupying the company headquarters and taking out office equipment and personal belongings without permission. A wife of delivery store owner at Gimpo, who committed suicide after having been bullied by the delivery workers’ union, met with a journalist at the Dong-A Ilbo and said, “It is as if the union is the king of the world. Is the Republic of Korea a country only for a trade union?” It is indeed doubtful whether a group of people committing illegal and violent acts day by day can be referred to as a trade union.

South Korea’s trade unions have been acting in disregard of law and become violent, and such inclination of trade unions are an outcome brought upon the current administration, which is leaning towards trade unions. At the time of the amendment of the Trade Union Act in 2021, the government and the ruling party allowed dismissed employees and the unemployed to join trade unions, but they ignored the requests from businesses for substituted labor in the event of a strike. There is no way to prevent the occupation of factories by dismissed employees under the pretext of being union members, and this is a reality of labor-management relationship in South Korea. While aristocratic trade unions are allowed to carry out union activities solely focused on fighting to protect their own interests, businesses are undermined, and the economy is being radically disturbed.

Ruling party’s presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung is keeping silence on illegal union activities that are unfolding before his eyes. Opposition People Power Party’s presidential candidate Yoon Seok-youl said such illegal union activities must be brought to justice, but set forth a bystander’s comment that highlighted independent resolution by the parties concerned rather than the government’s intervention. The People Party’s presidential candidate Ahn Chul-soo was the only candidate who urged the law enforcement to bring those who were responsible for unlawful and violent acts to justice. CJ Logistics accused the delivery workers’ union on the charge of obstruction of business, but the police are persuading the trade union to voluntarily evict from the company premise. Although businesses and consumers incur losses by illegal strikes, both public authority and political circles are indifferent in addressing the problem. The bitter self-mockery that South Korea is the republic of trade unions is no longer an exaggeration, but is becoming a reality.