Disclaimer: The following is a totally unauthoritative personal translation of an article appeared in <OhmyNews> on Dec. 24, 2012, reporting the absence of responsible reaction of president elect Ms. Geun-hye Park and ruling Saenuri party to continued suicides of workers since the end of presidential election on Dec. 19. All rights regarding this post stay with the author(s) of the original article or with <OhmyNews> and this post will be scrapped immediately at their request. In the post, I tried to match the English translation of names of people / institution(s) / position(s) to authentic one(s) as much as possible but, unfortunately, some of them still can be different. Original article of this post (in Korean) can be found in the link below.
▲ Worried of angered union workers and mourners of Mr. Choi, union assistant director of organization, who had killed himself out of distress from company’s tenacious repression against union, Hanjin Heavy Industry Youngdo shipyard installed iron barricades to entrance gates.
ⓒ In-kyu Jeong 정민규
Despite continued workers’ suicides since the end of 18th presidential election on Dec. 19, Saenuri party is showing apathetic response. It looks also very unlikely that president elect Ms. Geun-hye park will do something or address any message to stop succession of tragedies.
A national assembly environment and labor subcommittee member of Saenuri party even did not grasp the situation properly. At a phone call on Dec. 23, when an <OhmyNews> correspondent said to him ‘3 workers committed suicides one by one since presidential election’, the representative responded “Really? Then, it is a very serious problem.”
The Rep. first made it clear that the continued workers’ suicides had nothing to do with the result of presidential election. He said “No one can link the aggravation of existing labor disputes and judicial matters to the election of candidate Park.”
The Rep. said “So far as I can tell, Ms. Geun-hye Park has deep interest on social minors, which is uncomparable to current MB government.” and continued “One thing is clear. President elect is not someone who would leave this kind of situation unchecked. Even big business corporations are on full alert due to her economy democratization pledge now. The Rep. then said “Right now, the president elect must be out of her mind. Let’s wait for a moment. She will deliver some message.”
Commenting on Hyundai Motors company that unleashes full-fledged strong oppression against partial strike by irregular workers’ union day after day, a core member of presidential election camp diagnosed “Everyone sees the situation to his own advantage.” He meant companies misunderstood the election of Ms. Geun-hye Park as a favorable environment.
This person asserted “president elect Ms. Geun-hye Park is not a person (who would put out a pro-company labor policy).” but expressed his bewilderment “somehow she needs to send out a signal so…” He was concerned of negative impression on president elect Park’s labor policy overshadowed by a succession of workers’ suicides even before her own government commences and her policy has not been put in place yet.
“What on earth do they have to do with her election? If we side with them now, it can tie our hands in the future”
Despite concerned opinions by several Saenuri party members, it seems unlikely to expect any measures from president elect Ms. Geun-hye Park.
To an <OhmyNews> correspondent’s question “can there be something president elect Ms. Geun-hye Park do to stop the succession of workers’ suicides?”, a high ranking official of Saenuri party bluntly retorted “What does the current circumstance have to do with president elect Park?”
To the correspondent’s question “It may reflect workers’ worries about the commencement of Geun-hye Park’s government. Even companies judge current circumstance in their favor, right?”, this official responded “They don’t have to worry about anything at all. Companies think everything strangely on their favor by themselves.” and added “We should stay cool. What on earth president elect can do right now?”
He meant there was nothing president elect could do since impending president Myung-bak Lee’s term is still remaining. It also seemed to mean that president Lee should tie up everything before he leaves his office since everything started under his government.
This official also commented “If we side (with workers) at this moment, we would be dragged around all through the presidency.” He meant that if she put on the pro-labor stance at this moment even before the initiation of her presidency, it would simply inflate labor side expectation and put burden to Geun-hye Park government’s labor policy.
Progressive Justice Party “not only opposing parties but Ms. Geun-hye Park should do everything we can”
To the contrary, Progressive Justice Party (PJP) warned “The first thing president elect Geun-hye Park should do is to improve conditions of workers that are cornered to deadly situation under Myung-bak Lee’s government. It should be borne in mind that the establishment of Geun-hye Park’s government does not mean to put on the ‘go’ signal for violent suppression of the weak of our society by the rich through the means of capital.”
PJP also pressed hard “not only opposing parties including Democratic party but president elect Ms. Geun-hye Park should do everything we can to solve the issue right away.” which means all should do something to stop the circumstance that people kill themselves feeling pessimistic about democratic unions ruthlessly oppressed by the rich and the powerful. Start from Hanjin Heavy Industries union assistant director of organization Mr. Choi on last 21, Hyundai Heavy Industries in-house subcontractor union director of organization Mr. Lee on 22, and Democracy People Peace Unification Sovereignty Solidarity activity Mr. Choi on 23 killed themselves one by one. (notes added by translator: On 25, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies union leader Mr. Lee killed himself and deputy leader Mr. Lee died of myocardial infarction while servicing at union leader Lee’s mortuary on 26. They were also suffered from hardships due to ruthless oppression by university.)