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Cargo truckers vow general strikes amid urea water-related logistics crisis

National 17:38 November 09, 2021

SEOUL, Nov. 9 (Yonhap) -- Unionized truck drivers affiliated with the mighty Korean Public Service and Transport Workers' Union (KPTU) threatened Tuesday to stage a general strike late this month over rising transport costs, which have been aggravated by the nationwide shortage of urea water solution.

The Cargo Truckers Solidarity (CTS) said that its members will launch their first general strike in late November and the second general strike in December to demand a full expansion of the "Safe Trucking Freight Rates System," which is intended to prevent dangerous driving and guarantee minimum freight rates for truck drivers.

Leaders of the Cargo Truckers Solidarity and the Korean Railway Workers' Union hold a joint press conference in Seoul on Nov. 9, 2021, to announce their general strike plans. (Yonhap)

The safe freight rates system was introduced in 2018 and is scheduled to expire next year due to a sunset clause.

Separately from the strike threat, the CTS launched a sit-in in front of the National Assembly on Monday to demand the full expansion of the safe freight rates system and the abolition of the relevant sunset system.

The CTS did not disclose its specific strike dates, saying they will be linked to parliament's debate on the pending issues.

The truckers' union said that their collective actions have been needed more as the rising costs of urea water solution, a key material used in diesel vehicles to reduce emissions, have been passed on to truck drivers.

Industry watchers express concern about the possible strikes by truck drivers, as they may coincide with a lingering crisis in the logistics sector amid the prolonged urea water shortage.

In solidarity with the CTS, meanwhile, the Korean Railway Workers' Union said it will refuse to work overtime and on holidays from Nov. 19 and launch a work-to rule struggle on Nov. 25.

The KPTU also said that it will hold a rally in downtown Seoul on Nov. 27, drawing about 20,000 people, or 10 percent of its members.


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