(CTN NEWS) – SEOUL –Tuesday, as construction sites ran short of building supplies around the country, South Korea’s government issued an extraordinary order requiring striking cement sector truckers to report to work.
The strike, the second that truckers have gone on in less than six months over minimum pay, is expected to cost the country 300 billion won ($224 million) per day in losses.
And disrupt industrial activity at a time when the fourth-largest economy in Asia anticipates growth to slow to 1.7 percent in 2019.
According to the lobbying group Korea Cement Association, the cement sector had calculated a cumulative output loss of around 64 billion won ($47.81 million) as of Monday.
It also mentioned that the cement industry transported roughly 22,000 tonnes on Monday or about 10% of the daily average needed for the peak season between September and early December.
In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Yoon said that his government’s tough response to strikes this year is beginning to establish the rule of law in industrial relations.
Labor crackdown in Korea. "South Korea orders striking cement truckers back to work. The gov't can strip drivers of their licenses if they do not comply, and striking drivers face fines of up to 30 million won ($22,500) or up to three years in prison." https://t.co/ylTsFlW76s
— Tim Shorrock (@TimothyS) November 29, 2022
Which he previously discussed in a video call with Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk last week. This would help to eliminate the risks of unfair labor practices.
Forcing striking transport workers back to work was a first for the Yoon administration in the nation’s history.
Failure to comply may result in penalties such as license revocation, three years in prison, or a fine of up to 30 million won ($22,550).
Permanent Freight Rates Sought By Truckers
In the second nationwide strike since June, thousands of Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union (CTSU) members stopped working last Thursday.
Government should extend the minimum freight rate system – which expires at the end of the year.
Additionally, they are calling for the system to be expanded to include other types of cargo hauled by truckers.
The start-work order was described as “undemocratic and anti-constitutional” by the strike’s organizer, the Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union (CTSU), and indicated the government’s resistance to dialogue.
The CTSU issued a statement late Monday saying, “The CTSU will not submit to this pan-government crackdown.”
It was noted that the union has 16 rallies scheduled across the country on Tuesday.
As of 5 p.m., container traffic at ports had decreased to 33% of pre-strike levels. Monday at 0800 GMT, according to the transport ministry.
If transport workers do not comply, government representatives will suspend their transport licenses for 30 days after conducting on-site investigations with the police, relaying the order to return to work.
According to a transport ministry official, licenses may be canceled if they continue to disobey, and the government may pursue legal action that could result in jail time or fines.
The union contends that the minimum wage system should be permanent and more inclusive, while the government is unlikely to extend it beyond another three years.
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