South Korea truckers strike once again with auto, battery offer chains at threat

  • Next nationwide strike less than 6 months
  • Container targeted visitors slows, no big injury nevertheless – transport min
  • Truckers chant ‘We quit, the world will halt!’
  • Minister warns of ‘strict crack’ if vehicles impede law enforcement
  • Sectors from autos to petrochemicals could be disrupted

UIWANG, South Korea, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Unionised truckers in South Korea kicked off their 2nd key strike in less than six months on Thursday, threatening to disrupt producing and gas provides for industries from autos to petrochemicals in the world’s 10th-premier economic climate.

With fuel fees soaring, the truckers are calling on the governing administration to make everlasting a minimum-spend procedure regarded as the ‘Safe Freight Rate’ that is owing to expire by the conclusion of the 12 months, and to grow rewards for truckers in other industries, which includes oil tankers.

The governing administration has said it will extend the plan for three many years but rejected other union needs. In June, an 8-day, non-violent strike by truckers delayed cargo shipments across Asia’s fourth-largest economic climate, costing far more than $1.2 billion in dropped output and unmet deliveries prior to it finished with each aspect claiming it won concessions.

The organising union kicked off 16 rallies across the nation on Thursday early morning, including at a port in Ulsan that properties Hyundai Motor’s (005380.KS) most important production plant.

The union approximated about 22,000 are having element in the rallies, while the transport ministry said about 9,600 individuals attended, and there were being no clashes with police monitoring gatherings.

As a noisy rally got less than way at transport hub Uiwang, 25 kilometres (15 miles) south of Seoul, hundreds of truckers marched close to the depot – viewed by a hefty law enforcement presence – carrying banners and sporting headbands with the slogan “Unite Battle”. They chanted, “We stop, the world will halt!” and “Let’s cease driving to improve the entire world!”.

Union officials stated about a thousand truckers gathered at the rally, the place the head of the union’s Seoul metropolitan region branch, Lee Kwang-jae, informed them to choose up crucial positions to consider to block any attempts to make shipments. A single particular person leading the protesters named out to a container truck making for a depot, “Never embarrass oneself by operating. Sign up for us!”

They prepared to break up in two groups, with 50 % remaining at Uiwang and the other 50 % heading to Pyeongtaek, about 44 kilometres (27 miles) away, which is near to ports serving China.

At Busan, South Korea’s major port, law enforcement officers and buses were found lined up together critical routes.

Direct organiser the Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union (CTSU) has warned the strike could cease oil materials at big refineries and transportation at important ports and industrial plants.

Container site visitors at ports has dropped to 40% when compared to ordinary amounts due to the fact the strike began, the transportation ministry explained late Thursday, but added no key damage had been reported so much as businesses moved shipments pre-emptively.

The union has reported nearly all of CTSU’s 25,000 members, about 6% of the country’s truck motorists, will take component in the strike, joined by an unspecified number of non-union users.

The transport ministry believed that about 8,000 people ended up camped out at 14 regions to protest right away on Thursday.

“We have no choice but to quit all logistics in Korea,” reported Lee Bong-ju, head of the union, on Thursday.


Earlier this 7 days, Transport Minister Gained Hee-ryong said the Safe and sound Freight Price process experienced not been confirmed to enhance the safety of truckers but to only raise their incomes, a reason why the government has refused to extend the scope of the scheme. read more

“The government and the ruling bash misled, and brazenly defended money expressing that truckers’ revenue levels have been not very low – and that if the Risk-free Freight Level procedure were expanded, price ranges could increase owing to greater logistics fees,” Lee reported.

The union is inquiring the government to ensure major firms are held accountable if they violate the least wages rule.

“Frontline truck drivers need to not be sympathetic to unjustified collective action. We will strictly crack down on truck drivers’ obstruction with the law enforcement so that risk-free transportation can be ensured,” Transport Minister Won reported on Thursday.

The transportation ministry stated the govt is open up to “sensible” dialogue, but union head Lee claimed that the ministry unilaterally stalled negotiations and have not manufactured official request for dialogue due to the fact.

Marketplace giants such as Hyundai Motor and steelmaker POSCO (005490.KS) ended up compelled to minimize output by the June strike.

“If the cargo union strike proceeds, it will place also significantly of a burden on not only significant industries, but also people’s livelihoods and the nationwide economic system,” reported Prime Minister Han Duck-soo on Thursday.

Corporations this kind of as Hyundai Metal (004020.KS), petrochemical corporations and a battery maker advised Reuters that since the strike was anticipated, urgent deal volumes had been shipped out and important uncooked products ended up ready in advance. On the other hand, restrictions in storage space and logistics would make the strike problematic if it lasted.

A Hyundai Metal spokesperson stated its everyday cargo of about 8,000 tonnes of steel solutions at its Pohang manufacturing facility could not be moved on Thursday thanks to the strike.

The governing administration is deploying choices this kind of as armed service-run container transport motor vehicles and considering securing far more storage area in situation cargoes pile up. Some sector officers noted that army automobiles may perhaps not be geared up to carry merchandise this sort of as metal or fresh new produce.

The Korea Oil Station Association is inquiring gas station house owners to safe plenty of inventory in advance of the strike, an affiliation official reported before, although charging stations for hydrogen-driven autos have place up indicators warning that provide could be cut.

Reporting by Ju-min Park and Heekyong Yang Extra reporting by Soo-hyang Choi Producing by Joyce Lee Enhancing by Catherine Evans and Kenneth Maxwell

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