UIWANG, South Korea (Reuters) A massive striking of South Korean truckers has led more than 100 fuel stations across the nation to go empty, according to government statistics that a nationwide trade union called an all-out strike on Tuesday in the support of truckers.
The truckers’ strike on a minimum wage started on Nov. 24th, has seen two negotiations with the federal government and unions however, there hasn’t been any breakthrough.
The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) announced that it had held rallies in 15 locations across the country. There were approximately 25,000 members of the union attending as part of the general strike.
Since supplies of fuel and construction supplies are at a low and construction materials are in short supply, and construction equipment is in short supply. South Korean government has stepped up its pressure to stop the strike. This month, government officials announced the “start working” order that aimed to get 2500 strikers working in the cement industry to get to return to the roads.
President Yoon Suk-yeol, president of Korea, on Sunday issued an order to extend this order to other sectors, like refining oil and steelmaking, in which further economic damages are expected.
A graft-free Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) announced that it began the investigation this week to determine what happened to the trucker’s union that was unfairly refusing to take on a job. The union has not cooperated in the investigation an official from the KFTC official said to Reuters the news agency on Tuesday.
The KCTU which is an umbrella organization which is where the truckers’ association is and has criticized President Obama’s “start the work” order similar to martial law. They say the government must be negotiating.
In one of the demonstrations close to the Uiwang container depot, where truckers on strike are camping, KCTU chief Yang Kyung-soo declared that the truckers are in the “front of the line” of protecting the lives of workers as well as their rights. Union leaders provided financial support to the strike that is currently being conducted by truckers.
Lee Bong-ju who is the head of the Truckers’ Union said that unionized truckers will raise the intensity of their protests starting on Wednesday without providing further details.
At the time of writing the petrol stations were running out of gas. The majority were located in Seoul along with Gyeonggi province, which is a heavily urbanized region that is close to the capital, as per Korea National Oil Corp data. It’s an increase over the 21 stations at which the ministry of industry had stated were empty of fuel on November. 29.
With rising fuel costs up to 250,000 truckers are asking the government to create an ongoing minimum-pay system, referred to under”the “Safe Freight Rate” that was initially introduced in 2020 to just a tiny fraction of more than 400 000 truckers.
The second time in just six months, these truckers are struggling with the brutal cold and government’s assertion that they’re paid well “labour Aristocracy”.
Yoon has declared that his government won’t bow to union demands. He also has compared the strike to the nuclear threat North Korea faces. The government has stated that it will extend the current program for another three years.
The effect of a general strike is not clear and relies on who is involved, according to KCTU spokeswoman Han Sang Jin.
Another KCTU official claimed that some workers in the construction and service sectors had commenced “solidarity strikes” however they didn’t know for how the duration would be.
“By having come there, we’re hoping to encourage those who drive,” Park Dae-ku, who is a unionised employee at a state-run science museum spoke to Reuters. Park has taken a few hours off to take part in the protest at Uiwang but she isn’t planning to leave work.
The strikes have damaged the supply chain in South Korea and caused the country to lose 3.5 trillion won ($2.65 billion) in lost deliveries during the first 12 hours the industry ministry announced on Tuesday.
Losses are likely to increase in various sectors, however traffic at ports has improved slightly , reaching 69% of the average prior to strike since the back-to-order was made, as per the government.