The Korea Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) staged on Tuesday an all-out strike and rallies across the country in support of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union Cargo Truckers’ Solidarity division (KPTU-TruckSol), but major stakeholders did not attend. While the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea sought to intervene to alleviate the government's hawkish response, the standoff remains unabated.
On Tuesday afternoon, the KCTU ran general strikes and rallies in 15 regions across the country. “The oppression is not confined to the truckers but is zeroed in on the KCTU, the biggest barrier for the government to overcome in its quest to aggravate the labor market,” claimed the KCTU, adding that it must fight to stop the government. Having decided to stage the strike on Wednesday, the KCTU urged its 1.1 million union members to fight together, but the turnout was much lower than expected.
Among the large-sized businesses with the right to strike, the three major shipbuilders of Hyundai Heavy Industries Group and Hyundai Steel opted not to participate. Only a handful of the trade union of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering made an appearance. All in all, around 20,000 protesters (according to the police report) showed up for the ad-hoc event in 15 regions across the country.
As the confrontation between the government and truckers’ unions gets prolonged, some union members are showing signs of opting out. Some union members in Southern Jeolla Province were seen getting ready to resume work. The government maintains that returning to work is a precondition for talks.
Signs of overtures are being witnessed in the political circles to tackle the hiatus of talks between the two sides. “The lawmakers must find their role to play to address the government’s lack of competence and attitude,” said DP Floor Leader Park Hong-geun, proposing that the floor leaders of both parties and the chairman of the policy committee should step in for an early resolution of the stalemate.
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