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Truckers’ Strike Paralyzes Export

Posted June. 14, 2008 08:21,   

한국어

The Korea Cargo Transport Workers Union waged a nationwide strike as some 10,800 truck drivers halted their operations yesterday.

As truckers refused to work and obstructed delivery in large container terminals such as Busan and Gwangyang, the nation’s industrial supply chain suffered a major disruption. Import and export goods were piled up in container depots

The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs announced yesterday the number of truckers who participated in the strike more than doubled from 4,500 from a day ago, disrupting delivery in harbors and container depots.

Overall 3,081 trucks operated at the Busan port. However, 960 trucks belonging to the union halted operation for the day. Another 300 trucks that are not affiliated with the union also participated in the strike.

In Busan’s Gamman and Jaseongdae container terminals, 150 containers that were scheduled to arrive at the terminals yesterday were not delivered in time and shipments of them were canceled.

In Incheon, truckers walked around 12 piers but declined to deliver goods, cutting the truck operation rate by 90 percent.

As of midday, 2,338 container trucks passed by the Incheon harbor but 2,154 trucks declined to work while only 184 trucks operated.

But for 157 truckers belonging to the union’s Incheon branch, most of them who declined to carry freight were non-union members.

In Pyeongtaek, union members set up a tent in front of the container terminal and parked 100 trucks on both sides of the terminal entrance in protest.

In Ulsan, only 20 trucks, a third of daily delivery vehicles, carried freight. Truckers’ nationwide strike has significantly lowered the traffic at ports across the country.

The Korea International Trade Association estimated that export amounting to $6.87 million has been disrupted due to the ongoing strikes as of 2 p.m. yesterday.

The government decided to call truckers, including union leaders and those who support militant strikes or obstruct shipments, to account if they keep halting operation.

Prime Minister Han Seung-soo held a ministers’ meeting at the Government Complex in central Seoul to come up with emergency measures such as use of military vehicles and personnel for operation as well as temporary freight trains and container vessels.

However, train, airport and harbor unions declared that they would not engage themselves in supplementary work. Given that, if truckers’ strike is prolonged, it may deal a serious blow to the nation’s distribution system.

The Korean Transport Workers’ Union said, “If the government forcefully prevents truckers from continuing their strike, railway workers will also wage a strike.

While considering that upcoming three or four days will be most challenging, the government decided to commit non-union members and military vehicles to shipment so as to raise the shipment volume as much as possible.



daviskim@donga.com