Korean Truck Drivers Launch Walkout on Monday
Unionized truck drivers across Korea launched their walkout as of Monday morning.
This is the first all-out strike in four years by the truckers' union affiliated with the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions.
The truck drivers are making three requests: setting a standard trucking fee to guarantee at least the minimum wage, revising the law to allow them to apply for workers' compensation as well as a 30 percent raise in trucking fees and fuel cost support.
Some 80 percent of the 380-thousand truckers in the country are estimated to be taking part, including those who are not part of the union.
What's at stake is the transportation of goods around the country and its impact on the nation's exports and imports.
A week-long walkout in 2008 resulted in a trade loss of over seven-billion U.S. dollars.
To minimize disruptions, the government will expand rail and water transport services, and deploy military container vehicles.
And any illegal actions will be met with strong countermeasures.
[Interview : Kwon Do-youp, Minister
Ministry of Land, Transport & Maritime Affairs] "Drivers that refuse to transport freight will not get government subsidies for fuel costs for six months and those who disrupt freight transportation or engage in illegal acts will have their drivers' and freight transporters' licenses cancelled or suspended."
The government added that it will mobilize police officers in major distribution points to prevent any interruptions to the flow of goods and has promised full coverage for trucks on-duty that are damaged during the strike.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.
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