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End Nearing in Truckers` Strike

Posted September. 04, 2003 23:08,   


The truckers` union, which has been on strike for 15 days, held a general meeting attended by about 1000 members from 10 branches Thursday. Heated debates went back and forth over whether to continue the strike and opinions were divided within the union. The strike is seen as nearly almost over as members from major branches of the union returned to work.

▽ Different opinions inside truckers` union

Shouts were heard at the meeting of the union members from the Gyeonggi and Incheon areas. The meeting, held at Seoul National University, had to be stopped temporarily when fierce debates among union members broke out. Members at the meeting decided to continue the strike.

In Busan, however, the general meeting of union members never materialized, as not enough members showed up. Moreover, the union failed to secure a venue for a meeting because of the refusal of Busan University to host it. The leadership of the truckers’ union explained that the general branch meetings were held to discuss how to continue the strike.

▽ Logistics flow returns to normal level

Logistics flow at Busan and Gyeongin ICDs (Inland Container Depot) returned to normal levels. Other ports are also showing logistics flows similar to normal levels. The Busan Regional Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Office said that 90 percent of truckers belonging to the truckers’ union returned to work or expressed willingness to return to work. The container flow at Pusan port has increased to 96 percent of pre-strike normal levels. On top of this, 80 percent of the 290 unionized truckers at Gyeongin ICD returned to work Thursday, making transportation volume slightly above the average transportation volume before the strike.

The Ministry of Construction and Transportation said that 59.2 percent of striking container drivers and 71.7 percent of striking BCT drivers returned to work as of Thursday. Among the 556 union members the police confronted, only 8 people were arrested, while arrest warrants were issued against a further 7 people.

▽ Reasons behind the nearing end to the strike

The strike by truckers seems to be nearing an end due to a lack of support by the general public, loose organization of union members and strong actions by the government. The non-participation of truckers who do not belong to the labor union dealt a blow to the strike of truckers` union as well. A police official explained that only 20,000 truckers out of 200,000 are members of the truckers’ union, which means that the strike by union members would not disrupt the nation’s logistics system.

The truckers’ union tried to block the freight transportation of non-union members, but this only led to more unfavorable public opinions about the strike. Labeling the strike as illegal from the initial stage, the government has stuck to the principle that truckers should return to work first before they have any dialogue with the government.