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Cargo Workers Go on Strike

Posted May. 06, 2003 22:08,   


Cargo workers from the Korean Cargo Workers Federation (KCWF), responsible for 90% of all local cargo, walked off the job on May 2. Logistics and supply at major steel companies including POSCO have been halted greatly affecting various industries including shipbuilding, automobiles, electronics, and hundreds of local subcontractors.

Some cargo workers in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, are trying to blockade trucks carrying steel products but also others from passing. The police however are preparing for this possible disruption.

About 400 workers, requesting a 30% increase in pay, have been staging strikes since May 2. On May 6, they parked their trucks along a one kilometer stretch of National Highway #7 between Pohang and Gyeongju.

In addition, cargo workers are trying to close off three entrances in Pohang city, used for moving POSCO’s products.

Some workers broke the windshields of trucks that passed through an industrial complex in Pohang during the strike and took removed license plates.

“The strike has paralyzed the city for the past five days, but the police haven’t done anything,” citizens in Pohang said, expressing their concern.

“If we dismiss them immediately, it would only bring about violence, and make matters much worse,” one police official said.

The cargo workers are preventing the passage of raw materials and delivery of steel products to Hanbosteel, Gwangyang Steel, and KISCO. However, the authorities have not taken any action.

As the strike is adversely affecting transportation for most steel companies, inventories of quicklime, a raw material for steel production, are running low.

Hyundai Heavy Industry is expressing concern that it will have to shut down on May 12 when desperately needed inventories run out. The Hyundai Motors’ plant in Ulsan is struggling to come up with countermeasures since they only have inventories for another ten days.