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(LEAD) Yoon says labor, management should resolve disputes themselves

All News 20:51 June 10, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in last 8 paras)

SEOUL, June 10 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol said Friday that disputes between labor and management should be resolved among themselves without government intervention.

Yoon made the remark as thousands of unionized cargo truckers continued a nationwide strike for the fourth day to demand basic wage guarantees amid soaring fuel prices.

"Only when the government sticks to the law and principles and remains neutral, do I believe labor and management will be able to build the capacity to freely resolve their issues on their own," he told reporters as he arrived for work.

"I have a lot of doubts about whether the government's position or intervention until now was desirable for the establishment of labor-management relations and culture," he said.

Yoon rejected criticism that his "hostile" policy toward workers was fueling the tensions, asking, "Don't you think someone who is hostile toward laborers would not be able to become a politician?"

The president has commented several times on the strike this week, saying under no circumstance will violence be allowed and that any illegal actions by either employers or workers should be handled in accordance with the law.

President Yoon Suk-yeol takes reporters' questions as he arrives for work at the presidential office in Seoul on June 10, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

Thousands of members of the Cargo Truckers Solidarity, under the wing of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, launched the strike Tuesday, protesting that skyrocketing diesel prices are throttling their right to survival.

The transport ministry estimated that more than 7,500 carriers, or 34 percent of the 22,000-member union, joined the strike Friday.

The strike has been disrupting production and shipping across the country.

Key logistics ports saw container traffic drop sharply, with the volume at Busan port falling to some 7,200 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) Friday, around 33 percent of the level from the previous month.

Hyundai Motor is suffering some disruptions to its production in Ulsan, because truckers refused to deliver components. Steelmaker POSCO has also been experiencing difficulties in shipping products.

Approximately 60 percent of 1,085 ready-made concrete plants around the country suspended operations, as cement shipments plummeted.

Several scuffles between strikers and police were reported in cities, including Ulsan, where one union leader was arrested for letting union members illegally block the roads and enter Hyundai Motors' factory.

hague@yna.co.kr
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