South Korean trucker strike ends after eight days

  • Market: Metals, Petrochemicals
  • 15/06/22

South Korean truck drivers have ended an eight-day strike that had caused severe disruption to movements of petrochemicals, steel and other products.

The cargo truckers' solidarity division of the Korean public service and transport workers' union decided to end its strike at around 22:40 South Korean time (13:40 GMT) on 14 June, according to South Korea's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (Molit).

Around 15,000 truck drivers began an indefinite strike at ports and container depots across South Korea on 7 June, threatening to slow the country's exports of polymers and other consumer goods. South Korean industry group the Korea Petrochemical Industry Association (KPIA) called for an end to the strike on 13 June, warning that petrochemical firms will suffer losses because of shipment delays, and may even be forced to cease operations.

The strike is linked to the South Korean government's plans to remove coverage for truck drivers working in the container and bulk cement sectors under the country's "safe rates" system by the end of the year. The system, which offers truck drivers minimum wages derived from operating costs, has helped cushioned the impact of soaring fuel prices and living costs on such drivers.

Major domestic industries such as the automobile, steel, and cement sectors have been affected by issues like reduced shipments, according to Molit. The prolonged strike has strained the nation's logistical network, threatening to hit the steel and scrap industry, trade sources said.

The ministry will report to South Korea's national assembly the results of the country's current "safe rates" system for trucks so far, and has also agreed to an extension of the current system, based on the results of the negotiations. It also plans to review measures to expand oil subsidies and support for truckers, in view of the recent rise in oil prices.


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