|Trucks are parked at the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Uiwang-si, Gyeonggi-do, Sunday, four days after unionized trucks staged on a strike./ Source: Yonhap |
AsiaToday reporter Jeong Min-hoon
Striking cargo truckers and the government will sit down to negotiate for the first time Monday to seek a solution to the nationwide walkout that started last Thursday. Negotiations are expected to be tough as the Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union is demanding the permanence of the Safe Trucking Freight Rates System, which is known as the ‘minimum wage for cargo truckers’, while the government is requesting the cargo truckers’ unconditional return.
The government announced it would take a strict response to illegal acts related to the general strike. The President’s office raised the possibility of issuing an order to return to work as early as this week to break up the strike.
The government and the truckers’ union have agreed to sit down Monday at 2 p.m. in the administrative city of Sejong for their first negotiations since the strike kicked off, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
The union is demanding the land ministry to abolish the sunset law of the Safe Trucking Freight Rates System and expand items, while the land ministry is refusing its demand. The land ministry claims that it did not promise to abolish the sunset law of the Safe Trucking Freight Rates System and expand items during the general strike of the cargo unions back in June.
However, the union is arguing that the land ministry is ignoring the truckers’ demands but only representing the shippers and neutralizing the safe freight system, in complete defiance of the agreement from June.
The government plans to review preparations for issuing an executive order to stop the extended strikes if negotiations with the cargo union break down. Under the law, those who resist such an order can face up to three years in prison or 30 million won in fines.
Meanwhile, damage to industrial sites such as ports is becoming visible due to the general strike of the cargo union.