Home NewsAfrica South Korean truckers vote to end strike for minimum wage protections | News24

South Korean truckers vote to end strike for minimum wage protections | News24

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About a hundred members of the Korean Public Service and Transport workers Union Incheon Headquarters shout slogans at the cargo workers all-out resolution protest in front of the Hyundai Oilbank Seoul office on December 7, 2022.


A few hundred members of the Korean Public Service and Transport staff Union Incheon Headquarters shout slogans on the cargo staff all-out decision protest in entrance of the Hyundai Oilbank Seoul workplace on December 7, 2022.

Chris Jung/NurPhoto by way of Getty Photos

  • The South Korean trucker strike will come to an finish after staff took a vote. 
  • 62% of Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union members voted to name off the strike. 
  • Employees have been placing to make a minimal freight price scheme everlasting. 

South Korean truckers voted to finish their strike on Friday because it entered a 3rd week, with public help waning and the federal government refusing to budge, saying the motion had prompted “astronomical” harm to the financial system.

Many companies ready for the strike, which started on 24 November, and have been able to climate short-term ache.

As the federal government elevated strain – together with unprecedented “begin work” orders – a few of over 25 000 placing truckers headed again to work this week, realising that their bid to widen and make everlasting a authorities scheme on minimal freight charges was failing.

On Friday, the Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union mentioned that 62% of union members voted to name off the strike, however that the union would proceed its minimal wage marketing campaign.

“The sport is over. It’s so unhappy that each one we might do is cease our vehicles, however nothing has modified,” mentioned Kang Myung-gil, a container truck driver who got here again to work on Monday after a two-week walkout.

Drivers mentioned they confronted the prospect of not solely misplaced earnings, however misplaced jobs because the strike was extended.

“The union fell right into a lure that the federal government buried,” mentioned Kang, who isn’t a union driver, referring to the federal government narrative that the strike was devastating the nation’s financial system, the world tenth largest.

He mentioned:

Then, we, residing daily, simply have to simply accept the fact and transfer on.

After the strike ended, President Yoon Suk-yeol’s press secretary Kim Eun-hye mentioned the federal government would “unwaveringly abide by legal guidelines and ideas” on labour points. She mentioned the strike had prompted “astronomical harm” to the financial system.

This summer time, an eight-day walkout by truckers delayed cargo shipments from vehicles to cement throughout Asia’s fourth largest financial system earlier than it ended with all sides claiming it had gained concessions.

However this time, the federal government rejected the union’s bid to increase minimal protections to other forms of cargo, together with oil tankers, bundle supply vans and auto carries, saying drivers have been already well-paid. The federal government has mentioned it might solely prolong the present wage programme for 3 extra years.

Tougher line

The distinction was that Yoon took a more durable line than within the first strike, and South Korean industries have been keen to endure short-term losses to maintain operations operating.

Yoon ordered some drivers again to work, utilizing never-before invoked powers below a 2004 legislation. He additionally in contrast the strikers to North Korea’s nuclear menace and declined to have interaction with union representatives.

After a start-work order was issued on 29 November, visitors at ports started recovering to regular ranges, authorities information exhibits.

There was no panic shopping for of gasoline, as most of about 11 000 petrol stations retained ample provides.

A serious tyre maker preemptively cleared manufacturing facility house to retailer stock prematurely of the strike, an organization official mentioned, declining to be recognized due to the sensitivity of the problem.

Refineries paid truckers greater than double by way of brokers to maintain provides flowing, and non permanent staff have been employed to get completed Hyundai and Kia vehicles to native clients, drivers and a transport ministry official mentioned.

Hanging drivers comparable to Kang faulted the union’s management for not pushing for extra through the first strike in June.

A unionised gasoline tank driver mentioned:

Our union leaders should not have walked away with none agency settlement in June. They did not see their counterpart might change utterly this time, however simply left their very own folks bleeding out.

On the Uiwang container depot close to Seoul the place about 100 placing truckers have been camped out, the drivers packed up and a few left in tears, taking down banners.

Yoon’s arduous line on labour has accompanied an increase in his approval score for the reason that strike started, latest information exhibits.

A Gongjung ballot launched on Thursday confirmed the president’s score had jumped by greater than 9 share factors to 41.5%.

“Yoon’s powerful stance gained the hearts of some aged conservatives which have lengthy been antagonistic about labour unions,” mentioned Kim Mi-hyun, head of pollster R&Search.

Companies are additionally prone to welcome Yoon’s dealing with of the strike, which might assist them maintain prices flat when margins are below strain, analysts mentioned.

“If the federal government continues to take care of labour points the best way it did with this strike, that will assist corporations scale back threat,” mentioned Kim Dong-one, a professor of enterprise at Korea College.


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