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Truckers Solidarity refuses to transport at HiteJinro factories

Truckers Solidarity refuses to transport at HiteJinro factories

Posted June. 04, 2022 08:54,   

Updated June. 04, 2022 08:54


The Cargo Truckers Solidarity of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union under the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions said they will kick off an indefinite general strike on June 7. Their refusal to transport soju products from HiteJinro factories, where the truckers’ association is on partial strikes, is raising concerns over supply disruption.

Around 130 truck owners of the Transport Workers’ Union working for Suyang Logistics, a freight consignment company of HiteJinro, tried to occupy HiteJinro’s factory in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, according to HiteJinro and police. Some labor union members were arrested for assaulting police officers, while blocking the plant’s main gate and obstructing the transport of nonunion workers. On the day, the production line of the plant was suspended for about eight hours and resumed on Friday.

Icheon Plant and Cheongju Plant, which make up 70% of all soju production of HiteJinro, have suffered a 59% decrease in their daily delivery amount due to partial strikes started in May. Since joining the Cargo Truckers Solidarity in March this year, the around 130 freight owners who are in charge of shipping the products from the two plants have been demanding a 30% increase in transport fees and employment succession. HiteJinro is seeking to make a contract with additional transport agents to minimize the impact on its logistics.

The Cargo Truckers Solidarity demanded freight rate hikes and the extension of the Safe Rates System, saying, “Cargo truckers are facing a crisis, having to pay fuel costs that account for 30-50% of total transportation fees.” The Safe Rates System, which is sort of a minimum wage system for cargo truckers, was adopted with a three-year sunset clause in 2020.

The Transport Ministry announced that it will strictly respond to the group transport refusal with its plan to cancel or suspend the driver’s license of those who blocked the entrance and damaged the vehicle and revoke the qualification of a cargo trucker of anyone who does not follow the order to resume services. The Six Leading Economic Organizations including the Korea Enterprises Federation urged the Solidarity to “withdraw its refusal decision to safeguard the national economy amid the global transport difficulties and congestion in logistics.”

Sung-Min Park min@donga.com