No, really - that's what he said. With the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions threatening massive walkouts by its members in the banking, auto, railway, and metal industries (together with unionized teachers) starting this Saturday, our fearless President instructed his cabinet yesterday to take no shit from special interests trying to disrupt the affairs of the nation. The Korea Herald quotes the Nohmeister as saying:
"The government should respond to collective actions through dialogue and compromise. But we should firmly apply laws and principles when handling those who try to push their interests using a group force and ignoring the law."Oooo... I'm sure the KCTU are shaking in their boots now. These groups can smell blood in the water - in his first 100 days in office, Noh has been systematically used and abused by every special interest group in the country, so why shouldn't the KCTU have its turn? When Hanchongnyon (an illegal organization to start with) ambushed the President during his visit to Kwangju in May (a demonstration that would have been illegal even if Hanchongyon was legal, which it ain't), Noh also threatened to get tough. What happened to Hanchongnyon? Nothing. The KTU (Korean Teachers Union) has been threatening to walk out for months over plans to install a new school information system. Their willingness to bring the nation's schools to a halt when students are preparing for the university entrance exams was met by appeasement so sickening that the subsequent outcry (which included calls for the Minister of Education's head) forced the President to make an about-face. The government capitulated to striking truckers who brought the cities of Pusan and Kwangyang to a strandstill, and caved in to railway workers threatening to strike over privatization plans. This shouldn't really be surprising. After all, these groups got Comrade Noh elected in the first place. It's telling that Moon Jae-in, Noh's senior secretary for political affairs, was a legal advisor for the Pusan branch of the KTU (yes, the same KTU that was conducting the "hate America" indoctrination classes during the Iraq War) and was reported to be quite close to the striking trucker in Pusan. The Labor Minister has become, for all intents and purposes, a spokesman for the labor unions, and Noh seems intent on running the country like he's the head of an NGO rather than the elected head of state.
This is not the way to conduct the affairs of a nation.