Editorial; Labor-Management Political Strife
The political strife between labor and management organizations has been gaining momentum with the approach of the April 13 general elections. Prompted by the labor groups' initiatives to exercise political influence on the polls, the nation's five major business groups, including the Federation of Korean Industries, have raised the tone of their own voices on electoral issues.
The tug of war between the rival camps is feared to provoke worsened labor-management relations and have a serious impact on the future political landscape.
The representatives of the five business organizations on Monday held a police consultation meeting and formed a National Assemblymen's ``legislative activity appraisal'' panel given the mission to lead their political crusade during the run up to the elections. Composed of 17 members including businessmen, academic and journalists, the panel is to decide on the scope of its activity during the campaign period and the direction of its political function after the elections.
However, the representatives of the industrial groups stopped short of launching a full-scale political campaign by restricting its current activity to evaluating lawmakers' legislative actions concerning labor related problems. But they agreed to widen their area of politicking, depending on the intensity of the rival labor organizations' counteractions.
The management side, thus, may have intended to bear the brunt of the labor forces' political inroad to the business world, yet it must have taken into account the negative aftermath resulting from head-on confrontations with the formidable trade union federations. As guidelines for the assessment of lawmakers, the business leaders put forward the following as examples: Assemblymen's participation in enacting laws that run counter to the basic principles of labor-management relations, and their support for ``unreasonable'' demands or remarks favoring labor.
As an action plan, they agreed to provide abundant campaign funding to candidates whose legislative performances favored management. Although the results of the evaluation will be not be made public, it will be sent to 285 companies affiliated with the five business groups for their reference. Therefore, its impact will not be negligible.
Also, they outlined a policy not to disclose lists of persona non grata as candidates who they would oppose during their campaigns or election. This could reflect their apprehension over the possibility of provoking harsh protests from the labor force as well as aggravating public opinion against the business groups. …