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Gov’t and Cargo Truckers sit at negotiation table for the first time

Gov’t and Cargo Truckers sit at negotiation table for the first time

Posted November. 28, 2022 07:32,   

Updated November. 28, 2022 07:32


As of Saturday, four days into the strike by the Cargo Truckers Solidarity, a union under the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), the national logistics network remained strained. The government warned that it would order to resume duties for the first time if the impact got worse and met with the Cargo Truckers Solidarity for negotiations, the first time since the union announced the strike.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport estimated Sunday that the participation of the strike is around 19.5%, with 4,300 out of approximately 22,000 members participating in the movement. Despite the relatively low participation rate, the forwarding volume of cargo at 12 ports in the nation dropped dramatically to only 17% of the average. Steel manufacturers at POSCO’s Gwangyang steel mill are building up in the open-air storage yard. Employees deliver vehicles to car manufacturers due to the disruption of car shipping services.

With cement shipment volume falling under 10%, the construction site of Doonchon Apartment, the largest apartment complex reconstruction project in Korea, had to suspend frame construction as ready-mixed concrete could not be supplied. Operation of tank lorries of gas was also suspended, raising concerns about gas supplies in Seoul and other large cities. There are also voices of concern about potential violence. The trailer of a non-member driving near Busan port was hit by steel marble on the glass of the trailer, which wounded the driver.

The government and union sat at the negotiation table amid rising tensions. There is a vast difference of opinions between the two sides- the union is adamant about the permanent establishment of the safe fare system, which will retire with the introduction of the sunset law by the end of the year and is demanding to expand the number of items covered by the regulation, to which the government refused and announced that it would extend the safe fare system by only three years. The government hinted that it would announce an order to resume operations at the Cabinet Meeting tomorrow, but the union’s position remains very firm.

Both sides, however, should remain in dialogue to avoid catastrophic outcomes. The government should not resort to a temporary measure, just as it did in the June strike, which would lead to the same situation a few months later. Another strike would be lethal to the economy, which has slumped to 1% growth and is on the verge of recession. The government should also refrain from issuing a hasty order, which would worsen the situation and prolong the confrontation.