[Photo by Park Hyung-ki]
Logistics unrest looms over South Korea that has been already grappling with the prolonged urea water solution shortage as 23,000 unionized cargo truck drivers have gone on a general strike demanding improvement of working conditions.
The Cargo Truckers Solidarity (CTS) under the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) has launched a three-day full-scale strike as of Thursday midnight, demanding expansion of the safe freight rates system that guarantees minimum freight rates for truckers. The CTS said it is studying to stage another strike next month.
The minimum freight rates system, which was introduced in 2018 to prevent truck drivers’ overwork and work-related accidents, is scheduled to expire next year due to a sunset clause. The cargo union is calling for the full expansion of the system and the abolition of the sunset clause, claiming that only 6.5 percent of cargo trucks are currently benefitting from the minimum freight rates system.
The union members are planning to shutter down ports, logistics centers and plants across the country, adding to the shipping woes sparked by the crunch in urea water solution supply.
Cargo truckers are practically responsible for the entire cargo traffic volume in the country. In 2019, cargo trucks delivered 92.6 percent of the total 1.9 billion tons of cargos.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation has decided to implement an emergency measure, allowing private trucks to be temporarily deployed for commercial cargo transportation. The ministry has pledged to take all possible measures to minimize logistics disruptions at home and aboard during the strike.
By Lee Jong-hyuk and Lee Soo-min
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]