Go to contents

Striking Truckers Block Gwangju Roads

Posted March. 29, 2006 08:01,   


The Korea Cargo Transport Workers Union (KCTWU) under the Korea Confederation of Trade Unions launched a general strike in Gwangju on March 28, demanding higher transportation fees and the reinstatement of 51 truckers who were dismissed by the Far East Container Company, a subcontractor of Samsung Electronics in Gwangju.

The cargo union originally planned strike in Busan on April 3 but moved their strike date forward at the last minute.

Cargo transportation has not been disrupted, but a prolonged strike and a delivery logistics crisis are likely as union members in Busan, Ulsan, and North Jeolla Province are expected to join the walkout at the behest of the KCTWU.


About 1,000 union members blocked Highway 5 and Highway 7 leading to the Samsung Electronics Hanam Complex in Gwangju around 5:00 a.m. yesterday with about 300 cargo trucks.

Police called in locksmiths to unlock the illegally parked trucks and move them off the roads. Normal cargo transport resumed at around 10:00 a.m.

Meanwhile, about 300 more trucks were parked in a zigzag formation to block traffic near Highway 13 leading to an industrial complex in Dongjak-dong, Seoul, forcing officials to take traffic control measures until 6:00 p.m. around the Huksuk intersection and disrupting the operations of 40 small and medium- sized companies in the area.

No end in sight-

The cargo federation held a news conference at Chosun University yesterday and said, “We started a general strike at 5:00 a.m. and ordered 10,000 union members nationwide to gather together in Gwangju.”

In Uiwang-city, Gyeonggi Province, the major transportation company Sebang reduced the number of its cargo trucks going to Busan and Gwangyang from 40-50 to 10-20 yesterday.

Nearly 3,000 union members from Busan, 1,000 from Ulsan, and 100 from North Jeolla Province declared their intention to take part in the general strike, and 150 from Busan have already joined the union members on strike in Gwangju. Another 1,000 union members are discussing the possibility of going on strike at Chosun University.

Police said they will prevent cargo union workers from entering the city of Gwangju and arrest truckers on the spot if they disrupt transportation activity. Police plan to revoke the licenses of 514 truckers, seize their vehicles, and penalize 99 strike participants on traffic obstruction charges.

Conflict over job guarantees-

The strike started after 51 truckers lost their jobs on March 7.

The drivers delivered Gwangju Samsung Electronics products for a year based on a contract with the Far East Container Company, but they were laid off when the company did not renew their contracts on March 1. They have demonstrated in front of the company since.

The workers are demanding a direct contract with Samsung, the practical owner of the cargo.

But Samsung refused to engage in negotiations for a collective agreement, citing that the drivers have delivery contracts not with Samsung but with the Far East, which holds a contract with another corporation, Samsung Logitech.

The cargo union said, “Unionists from Gunsan, North Jeolla Province and Eumseong, Chungbuk Province are in a struggle for survival. We chose to walk off the job, but are willing to negotiate.”