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Couriers refuse parcel sorting in protest of working conditions

All News 16:00 June 07, 2021

SEOUL, June 7 (Yonhap) -- Thousands of unionized parcel delivery workers arrived late at work Monday and refused to sort packages as they urged logistics firms to quickly finalize a deal on their working conditions.

The Parcel Delivery Workers' Solidarity Union said that starting Monday, around 6,500 couriers nationwide would start work at 9 a.m. instead of 7 a.m., and head out to make deliveries at 11 a.m. instead of after noon, without sorting parcels in between.

Between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., the workers will load parcels that have already been sorted onto trucks, the union said.

Couriers prepare to head out from a distribution center in Seoul to deliver parcels on June 7, 2021. (Yonhap)
In this file photo, delivery workers sort parcels at a distribution center in Seoul on Jan. 21, 2021. (Yonhap)

The collective action comes as delivery workers suspect logistics companies are reluctant to finalize and implement an agreement reached between the two sides and the government in January.

Under the agreement, the companies promised to take responsibility for sorting packages, which has been blamed for couriers' long work hours, by bringing in additional workers and paying extra if the job falls on couriers.

The deal came after 16 delivery workers died last year apparently due to overwork.

The union said it will continue the collective action until a follow-up agreement is reached. Currently, the three sides are planning to compose a draft on Tuesday.

"Mondays are typically the day of the week with the fewest packages, so they haven't piled up yet," a union official said. "By tomorrow, the difference will definitely start to show."

Logistics officials said they do not expect major disruptions, although there may be a half hour to hour delay in deliveries in some areas.

This file photo shows officials from the Parcel Delivery Workers' Solidarity Union holding signs announcing their planned collective action during a news conference held in central Seoul on June 4, 2021. (Yonhap)


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