(ATTN: UPDATES with more details from 5th para)
SEOUL, Nov. 29 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol on Tuesday issued an executive order for striking cement-field cargo truck drivers to return to work as a general strike by the unionized truckers entered its sixth day.
"Today, the government issues an administrative order for those refusing to transport goods in the cement sector to prevent a more serious crisis for the national economy and the people's livelihood," Yoon said, presiding over a weekly Cabinet meeting.
"Construction and production sites across the country have stopped due to the suspension of cement and steel logistics, and our industrial base is in danger of being devastated. Even people's daily lives have been threatened," the president said.
The Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union, under the wing of the militant labor umbrella Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), launched a nationwide strike last Thursday, the second of its kind in less than six months, urging the government to meet its demand to make minimum freight rates permanent to improve their working conditions.
Yoon said the truckers' strike cannot be justified as long as they take the national economy and the people's lives hostage to achieve their own interests.
He specifically denounced any attack by strikers on their fellow truckers refusing to participate in the walkout as an "unacceptable criminal behavior."
"I will firmly establish the rule of law between labor and management during my tenure. I'll never compromise with illegalities. Responsibility for illegal acts will be strictly pursued to the end," the president said.
Yoon also expressed regrets at moves by KCTU-affiliated subway and railway workers to launch solidarity strikes, saying any illegalities will be dealt with sternly in accordance with the law and principles.
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