[Editorial] Lawless union
Government sits on hands as unionized delivery drivers occupy CJ Logistics
Published : Feb 17, 2022 - 05:30
Updated : Feb 17, 2022 - 05:30
Members of the CJ Logistics chapter of the union of delivery workers have been on strike since Dec. 28.

About 200 members of the union affiliated with the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions have occupied part of the company’s headquarters since Jan. 10.

They broke the entrance door and took over parts of the building to stage a sit-in. Scores of employees were reportedly injured.

They demand an increase of their share in excess profits from raised delivery fees, while the company disputes their argument on excess profits. They are free to make demands, but illegal actions and violence cannot be justified.

Many nonunion delivery drivers at CJ Logistics appealed to the strikers to let them work, but their appeal was useless.

The company filed accusations to the police against the illegal occupiers on charges of property damage and obstruction of business. But they have not flinched at all.

Rather, the CJ Logistics chapter warned of staging joint strikes with several other locals of the delivery workers unions on Feb. 21. It threatened a general strike if CJ Logistics continues to refuse dialogue.

The justification for a strike is less convincing. Delivery drivers work based on contracts with independent agents of CJ Logistics. But they are demanding answers from the company. The National Labor Relations Commission judged in June last year that CJ Logistics should negotiate with unionized delivery workers, but the company objected to the decision and filed an administrative litigation. The court has not handed down a ruling yet but the union went on a strike and occupied the company headquarters illegally and violently. They went too far.

Damage from the lengthy strike is snowballing. Above all, the livelihood of numerous nonunion delivery drivers for CJ Logistics is threatened.

Some nonunion workers who could not bear the union’s tyranny any more formed an anti-strike alliance. The number of alliance members is said to be more than double that of the strikers. The 1,500 unionists who are on strike account for less than 8 percent of the roughly 20,000 delivery drivers who work for CJ Logistics.

CJ Logistics says the strike is incurring a daily loss of more than 1 billion won ($830,000). Many producers and merchants suffer from delivery delays.

Under these circumstances, the government and police are sitting by idly or trying to shift the responsibility.

Police said that the strike is basically an issue between labor and management and that they are trying to persuade strikers to return to work voluntarily. This means they have no plan to step in to end the illegal occupation.

The Ministry of Employment and Labor said police will only have to handle this according to the procedures because it is a matter of illegal occupation.

CJ Logistics released a statement on Sunday that the government and police are sitting on their hands as they saw union members break in, occupy and use violence. The company appealed to the government not to look away from their illegal acts.

Lawlessness and violence are not a problem restricted to unionized delivery drivers. Construction workers and cargo truck drivers belonging to the confederation violently occupied worksites, acted high-handedly and intimidated backup or nonunion workers. That way, they got their demands step by step. Delivery drivers for CJ Logistics demand a “fair share” of excess profits, but next time, their demand will go further, probably calling for the right to collective bargaining.

The Moon Jae-in administration lopsided the playing field of labor and management in favor of the former. Individual companies are made too weak to fight back. Law enforcement agencies are their only protector, but police and the government are turning a deaf ear to them. Is this the justice the Moon government claims to advocate for?

By Korea Herald (khnews@heraldcorp.com)