FTC must apply the law strictly

2022. 8. 10. 20:01
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The government must stop the powerful umbrella union and its divisions from continuing to resort to their domineering ways no matter what.

People are closely watching the way the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) tries to put the brakes on the abuse of power by mighty umbrella unions in Korea. The FTC is intensively looking into the domineering behavior by the Busan division of construction equipment controllers under the construction union of the militant Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU).

It was discovered that the KCTU has openly thwarted construction equipment controllers unaffiliated with it from finding jobs at a number of construction sites across the country. As members of the combative union have acted as if they were employers, they likely violated the Fair Trade Act.

The government had no other choice but to turn to the Labor Act even if some union members go to the extreme, as labor activities are guaranteed by our Constitution. Moreover, our labor act is absolutely advantageous to unions compared to its counterparts in foreign countries. That’s why the government nearly couldn’t do anything even after a subcontractor union of the hard-line metal union under the KCTU occupied worksites of the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Maritime Engineering (DSME) to demand higher wages at the cost of stopping the operation of the plant. The government couldn’t get involved even when the trucker union under the KCTU blocked Hitejinro from shipping beers from factories to other parts of the country.

Even when such extreme violations took place, the Ministry of Employment and Labor didn’t do anything. The police also were sitting on their hands even after hot-tempered KCTU members repeatedly staged such violent strikes. (The Moon Jae-in administration often sided with unions in labor disputes.)

As a result, the courier union under the KCTU dared to occupy the headquarters of CJ Logistics for more than a month.

The FTC’s decision to take action against members of the union carries great significance. According to the antitrust authority, the KCTU forcibly expels unaffiliated equipment operators from construction sites or compels construction companies to hire equipment operators affiliated with KCTU.

It turned out that KCTU even removed union members from their membership if they don’t follow its orders, or the umbrella union gave disadvantages to nonmembers by pressuring construction companies.

The FTC has certainly obtained sufficient evidence. For instance, in the construction of an opera house in Busan in 2019, the union pressured a forklift operator — one of its members — to stop working ahead of a collective bargaining with companies. The government must stop the powerful umbrella union and its divisions from continuing to resort to their domineering ways no matter what. The Fair Trade Commission must strictly apply the labor law for justice.

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