firmly in place has been confirmed through an abundance of historical evidence.
The rule of law can solve the Hanjin Heavy dispute
Just when it seemed that the labor dispute at Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction would be settled, opposition party politicians and activists began acting up. Their "Bus of Hope" campaign and protests torpedoed the settlement and kept the crisis going. This problem could be solved if they would act reasonably and follow the rule of law rather than the rule of activism. Let`s look at the situation in detail.
Management reached an agreement with its workers on June 27, 2011 after a six-month standoff. The union launched a general strike on December 20, 2010, to protest the company`s massive lay-off plan. The company adhered to the law in dealing with the dispute: insisting on no pay for no work; warning they would call the police to block an illegal sit-in strike; and obtaining a court order banning unionists from the shipyard. The two sides eventually signed a deal on conditional lay-offs: the company would pay severance worth 22 months of wages to voluntary retirees in return for the strike ending.
Despite the settlement, Kim Jin-sook, a former Hanjin Heavy worker and a member of the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions, has staged a solo protest from atop a 35-meter tower crane at the Yeongdo shipyard for nearly 200 days. She knew policy can`t take her away from a crane protest which both management and workers do not want. [[KC: Not sure what that sentence means]] Then politicians from the three opposition parties and activists formed the so-called "Bus of Hope" campaign and staged three rounds of demonstrations to support her. Residents in Busan rallied strongly against the moves as they caused inconvenience to their lives and increased worries about their economy. The campaign has been criticized as the opposition parties` struggle for political leadership and control. The labor dispute had already been resolved but escalated into a crisis due to political intervention.
Without the rule of the law, the world would descend into anarchy. Politicians, especially those in the opposition parties, should regret their behavior and stop meddling. But it seems unlikely as they`re angling for power ahead of the general and presidential elections next year. Kim should come down from the crane, as she has been ordered by the courts. But given the strong support from opposition parties and labor unionists, she is likely to continue defying the court order.
The ruling party offered a compromise: they will bring in Hanjin chairman Cho Nam Ho for a parliament hearing if Kim halts the crane protest. It is a pity that political opportunists have turned the workplace into a battlefield. Politicians should stop pressing the company so that Cho can focus on business, not politics. The political pressure and business environment that keep Cho abroad, even after the voluntary deal between the management and workers, needs to be changed.
The solution to the Hanjin labor crisis is for everyone involved to follow the rule of law. It is well known that the rule of law has not been respected much in labor strikes. Without it, the world becomes chaotic. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who spearheaded many reforms, said during her visit to Korea that she has a faith that freedom should not be an excuse for chaos. "Freedom is the creature of law," she said. "Otherwise, human beings will become beasts." 1) Freedom cannot be separated from the law.
The Hanjin Heavy crisis should not be left as it is now. The solution should be found from the application of the law and legal principles. The government should stand firm against any irregularities so that the Republic of Korea is governed by the rule of law, not the rule of activism.
By Park, Dong Un, emeritus of economics at Dankook University