SEOUL, June 15 (Korea Bizwire) — Unionized cargo truck drivers on Tuesday have decided to end their walkout that caused nationwide logistic disruptions and delays after reaching an agreement with the government over a freight rate system.
Members of the 22,000-strong Cargo Truckers Solidarity, under the wing of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, reached the agreement with the transport ministry late in the day, and decided to end the strike that began on June 7 and return to work from Wednesday.
The union has been demanding an extension of the Safe Trucking Freight Rates System designed to prevent dangerous driving and guarantee minimum freight rates for truck drivers in a move to cope with soaring fuel prices.
The system was introduced for a three-year run in 2020 and scheduled to end Dec. 31, but the two sides reportedly agreed to keep the system in place.
The transport ministry said it plans to report the results of the three-year operation of the freight rates system to the National Assembly so that discussions on the system can continue in parliament.
The ministry will also continue discussing a plan of expanding the freight rates system, which is currently applied to those transporting containers and cement, to other cargo items and review an idea of increasing fuel subsidies for cargo truckers.
The strike has caused major disruptions in cargo transportation and the production of goods in South Korea, with the steel, automobile and petrochemical sectors reporting at least 1.6 trillion won (US$1.23 billion) in damages, according to the industry ministry.