South Korean trucker strike snarls supply chains

South Korean trucker strike snarls supply chains

South Korean trucker strike snarls supply chains

South Korean trucker strike (Credit: Google)

Advertisement
  • South Korean truck drivers stage eighth day of protests against rising fuel prices.
  • Drivers are protesting against the minimum wage guarantee and rising costs.
  • The strike is the latest stumbling block for global supply chains.
Advertisement

South Korean truck drivers staged their eighth day of protests on Tuesday against rising fuel prices, which have further snarled global supply chains, with the government warning that their actions have cost the country more than $1 billion.

According to data from Seoul’s trade ministry, the strike has disrupted shipment and production for the critical steel, petrochemical, and automobile industries, resulting in losses of about 1.6 trillion won ($1.2 billion).

The strike is the latest stumbling block for global supply chains, which have already been strained by prolonged Covid-19 lockdowns in China and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Read more: South Korean truckers’ strike on automobiles, steel, and other industries

South Korea is the world’s largest memory chip exporter and home to global chip powerhouse Samsung Electronics, as well as large car companies including Kia and Hyundai Motors.

It also represents the first major industrial action under newly-elected President Yoon Suk-yeol, a pro-business conservative who previously vowed to deal “strictly” with labour disputes.

Advertisement

The drivers stopped work last week and have disrupted ports and factories in Asia’s fourth-largest economy as they protest against the ending of a minimum wage guarantee and rising costs.

“All we are asking for is to remove the uncertainty in our lives,” Cho Jeong-jae, a member of the Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union, told AFP Tuesday.

The truckers say they are “desperate” due to sharp rises in fuel costs — with inflation in South Korea at its highest level in over a decade according to official data last month.

“When fuel prices drop, it’s reflected very quickly by lowering freight fees,” Cho said. “But that’s not the case when fuel prices rise. Our livelihood is at stake.”

Loud music blared out from a van parked near a port in Incheon on Tuesday, AFP reporters saw, as dozens of trucks lined up the road, flying flags hoisted on bamboo canes.

Similar protests were happening across the country — as of Monday, more than 7,000 people took part in the protests at 14 locations, according to the land ministry.

Advertisement

Negotiations are ongoing, but the government has come under fire for its “hostile” policy towards workers, which critics say is fuelling the tensions.

Read more: South Korean documentary “The Red Herring”

On the campaign trail, Yoon, a political newcomer, promised to deal with labour disputes “strictly” and indicated he was more pro-business on issues like minimum working hours.

According to the country’s transport ministry, 23 members of the Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union had been arrested as of Monday for “illegal activities” such as “interfering” with normal vehicle operation.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Read More News On

Catch all the World News, Breaking News Event and Latest News Updates on The BOL News


Download The BOL News App to get the Daily News Update & Follow us on Google News.


End of Article

Next Story