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[Editorial] KCTU’s despotism

Unionized truckers block bread shipment; subcontracted workers occupy steel mill

Under the pro-labor Moon Jae-in regime, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions has acted like its master.

It was a key organizer of candlelight vigils in 2016 and poses as one of the greatest contributors to the birth of the current regime. It takes the labor movement too far, making unreasonable demands and holding unauthorized rallies and illegal strikes.

Truckers unionized under the confederation are refusing to transport bread and other supplies to Paris Baguette franchise bakeries. Some of them held an illegal rally in front of a plant run by SPC Group, the owner of the bakery brand.

Their walkout was sparked by fights between the KCTU and its less militant rival group, the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, over delivery routes at an SPC plant in Gwangju. Their conflicts had nothing to do with the bakery business group itself.

KCTU-affiliated truckers operating in the Gwangju area went on strike Sept. 2, demanding better routes.

SPC rushed to hire substitute truckers, but its franchise bakeries failed to receive goods in time.

Paris Baguette store owners said they would demand compensation from the franchiser, which demanded damages from the striking truckers. Then the confederation turned up the pressure on SPC.

SPC rejected the union’s offer to call off the strike if the business group agreed to shoulder the damages from the walkout. Hundreds of unionized truckers tried to block shipments in front of the gate of an SPC plant in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province. About 3,400 Paris Baguette bakeries and other small businesses that use ingredients from the plant are suffering damage.

The labor group’s behavior is becoming vicious and outrageous.

A fuel supply line of a substitute driver’s truck was found to have been cut intentionally when it was parked in a highway service area. Police suspect striking truckers of planning the dangerous act. A person is said to have been filmed sneaking underneath the truck by a nearby surveillance camera.

On another occasion, union members stopped a substitute truck that was on its way to Paris Baguette bakeries late at night and assaulted the driver.

The labor group’s lawlessness was revealed vividly at Hyundai Steel’s Dangjin Steel Mill.

Subcontracted workers belonging to the KCTU-affiliated Korean Metal Workers Union have illegally occupied the mill’s control center for more than five weeks. They demand that Hyundai Steel hire them as regular workers. The court ordered them to leave the center, but they refused.

A petition appeared on the Cheong Wa Dae website on Sept. 15 appealing to the presidential office to come to the rescue of self-employed SPC franchise owners suffering the consequences of truckers’ illegal acts.

However, the Moon administration is sitting on its hands.

On Aug. 30, an owner of a parcel delivery agency in Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province, died by suicide after being harassed by unionized couriers who refused to deliver parcels allotted to the agency after he rejected an exorbitant raise in delivery fees.

Their inhumane behavior infuriated the public, who blamed the parcel couriers’ union. But in a press conference Monday, the union denied that harassment caused the owner’s death. It argued that the malicious messages sent to his phone counted as fair labor activities.

The KCTU’s supercilious behavior is greatly affected by the biased labor law. The law punishes employers excessively for unfair labor practices, while showing mercy to unions. On this uneven playing field, the labor movement’s barbarity cannot but worsen.

Because the government simply looks on as the group uses violence and commits illegal acts, the KCTU becomes bolder and disregards the rule of law.

The labor group poses as the guardian of the economically vulnerable working class, but actually it behaves only for its members. The government must defeat the despotism of the KCTU.

By Korea Herald (koreaherald@heraldcorp.com)
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