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[Editorial] Sharing Burdens Best Solution to Transport Union Strike

[Editorial] Sharing Burdens Best Solution to Transport Union Strike

Posted June. 14, 2008 08:21,   


With the Korea Cargo Transport Workers Union going on strike yesterday, logistic chaos came true. According to the Korean Logistics Association, logistic losses from delivery delays amount to 128 billion dollars per day. A prolonged strike would deal a major blow to the overall economy due to export disruptions, the suspension of factory operation, inflation stemming from commodity shortages, and deteriorating national credibility.

Criticism of freight union workers regardless of their joining strikes should be stopped. And we should not turn a deaf ear to their plea that “Aside from this strike, the oil price hikes have forced us to give up driving.” We cannot and should not force them to operate in spite of their losses.

The recent strikes are different from those in 2003, the first year of the Roh administration. The fundamental cause for the strikes lies in uncontrollable factors, namely high oil prices, particularly soaring diesel prices. This same reason has stopped freight operation throughout the world. Non-union members as well as freight union members voluntarily halted operation in Korea, showing the strike is not politically motivated, but for their livelihood.

The union calls for realistic freight fees, standard working hours, and an increase in fuel subsidies. Some losses should be compensated by freight owners, the government or freight drivers. The cargo transport industry is faced with such complicated problems that increasing shipping expenses is necessary considering the livelihood of freight drivers. The burden resulting from rising product prices goes to producers and consumers.

Raising oil subsidiaries is not easy due to the equality issue. So in the meantime, the government should make an effort to streamline the distribution system. In particular, it needs to shift the current freight delivery system into a direct transaction system. The strife of the transport union should be put to an end based on the assumption that all the relevant parties understand the pain and burden suffered by everyone else, and practical action should be taken. It is imperative that we not allow the ongoing strife to worsen.