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Nat`l bus strike ends after vote on taxi bill delayed

Posted November. 23, 2012 04:38,   


Korea`s first national strike by city and intercity bus drivers over a controversial taxi bill ended in two hours Thursday, as the ruling and opposition parties decided to delay submitting the bill to a parliamentary plenary session.

The move, however, had the side effect of sparking strong opposition from taxi drivers, who began planning action to counter the decision with strikes and massive rallies. If passed, the bill would put taxi companies and drivers under partial public management, as in the government would set salaries for cabbies and determine other rules. Taxi drivers would be guaranteed a more stable income and taxi companies would receive state compensation for losses.

Bus companies and drivers across Korea, including large cities such as Seoul and Busan, decided to walk off the job from the first bus Thursday, which was scheduled to start service at 4 a.m. This caused massive inconvenience for commuters and students who normally ride buses in early morning.

The central government as well as those of cities and provinces, however, persuaded the bus companies and drivers to resume operations by around 6:30 a.m. The National Association of Bus Companies said, “We decided to resume operations to relieve public inconvenience in consideration of government efforts, including asking the National Assembly to defer the taxi bill. But if the taxi bill is passed, we will halt operations indefinitely.”

Taxi companies and drivers, however, proposed urgent meetings on responding to the postponement of the taxi bill`s submission to parliament. The Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs Ministry said, “Taxi operations might be stopped as taxi companies and drivers are considering options like going on strike and staging protests."