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KCTU to strike at large scale

Posted November. 23, 2022 07:49,   

Updated November. 23, 2022 07:49


The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) plans to strike starting with the Cargo Truckers Solidarity from Thursday and well into December. Starting with the Cargo Truckers Solidarity, retail, railway, and subway unions announced to go on a general strike. Given that unions going on a strike are affiliated with the nation’s key industry, the strike’s impact is expected to ripple effect on a stricken economy.

On Tuesday, the Cargo Truckers Solidarity announced that its 25,000 members would go on a no-time-limit, all-out strike starting Thursday midnight. The unionized workers demand the extension of the safe trucking freight rates system, which is scheduled to expire at the end of 2022. The strike that will begin this Thursday is resumed in five months since the truckers’ union held a strike earlier in June that ended with a tentative agreement.

On Friday, non-regular workers in schools will hold an all-out strike, where around 50,000 education workers, including elementary after-school care class staff and school cafeteria cooks, will participate. Workers are demanding the introduction of measures to prevent occupational accidents in school cafeterias and the withdrawal of the revision of the local education subsidy scheme.

The Seoul Metro also plans to hold a no-time-limit strike starting Nov. 30, demanding the Seoul City Government’s withdrawal of a lay-off plan. On Dec. 2, the railway union will hold a full-scale strike against the Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Ministry’s policy to reduce workforce size and integrate the railway system.

The strikes scheduled to take place in the coming days are much like “resistance against the government,” demanding specific matters to the government. Critics analyze that the KCTU has organized the strikes to show its anti-government force in the face of the passage of labor-related legislations, including the Trade Union and Labor Relations Adjustment Act (so-called “yellow envelope act”) and labor reform bills.

The KCTU held a press conference in front of the National Assembly on Tuesday and announced an all-out strike and resistance. It said it would organize walkouts to push ahead with labor relations reform bills. KCTU leader Yang Gyeong-soo criticized President Yoon Suk-yeol and the National Assembly for neglecting workplace fatalities and safety. The KCTU plans to hold a full-scale nationwide labor movement on Dec. 3.

Ae-Jin Ju jaj@donga.com