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Delivery workers hold massive rally in Seoul amid stalled talks on preventing overwork

All News 17:19 June 15, 2021

SEOUL, June 15 (Yonhap) -- Thousands of unionized delivery workers gathered in Seoul on Tuesday to start a two-day sit-in, demanding logistics firms implement an agreement on preventing overwork.

Around 4,000 workers belonging to the Parcel Delivery Workers' Solidarity Union showed up at Yeouido Park, western Seoul, in the afternoon for an overnight protest.

"End sorting jobs that kill workers," chanted workers wearing vests with a statement, "Logistics companies should be responsible for sorting parcels," on their backs. They also called logistics firms and the government "liars."

Around 4,000 workers belonging to the Parcel Delivery Workers' Solidarity Union gather at Yeouido Park, western Seoul, for an overnight protest on June 15, 2021. (Yonhap)

The overnight protest was timed with the resumption of the final meeting over the implementation of overwork prevention measures.

The union launched an indefinite walkout last Wednesday after talks with the government and logistics firms on implementing a January deal fell through.

Under the agreement, the companies had agreed to provide extra workers to sort parcels and take other steps to ease the burden on couriers, who have long complained of overwork from sorting parcels before delivery and doing so without additional pay.

The January deal was reached by the union, logistics companies and the government after 16 delivery workers died last year apparently due to overwork.

The agreement also calls on logistics firms to provide extra payment to workers for sorting parcels and to work to automate the job.

Protesters briefly clashed with police who ordered them to disperse citing an unlawful assembly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The core issue to solve overwork deaths lies in sorting operations," the union said before starting the protest. "Only when we make sure that sorting parcels becomes logistics firms' responsibility will workers be freed from unpaid, long working hours," it said.

Thousands of unionized delivery workers gather in Seoul to start a two-day sit-in, demanding logistics firms implement an agreement on preventing overwork, on June 15, 2021. (Yonhap)

jaeyeon.woo@yna.co.kr
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