South Korean truckers voted yesterday to end a weeks-long strike that has hammered supply chains and businesses in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
The strike, which started on Nov. 24 over minimum pay, delayed the supply of goods worth an estimated 3.5 trillion won (US$2.69 billion) in its first 12 days, the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol slammed the strike action as “a danger to the economy.”
On Thursday the government ordered truckers in the fuel and steel sectors to return to work or face the possibility of going to jail or a fine.
“A majority of votes were cast in favor of ending the strike and returning to work,” the 25,000-strong Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union said in a statement.
More than 60 percent of those who voted supported ending the strike, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
With fuel prices rising, the drivers had demanded the government make permanent a “safe freight rate” minimum pay scheme, which is set to expire at the end of the year.
The government said last month it would extend the program for three years.
Truckers said more of them would become vulnerable to overwork and safety risks without a permanent minimum wage guarantee.
South Korea has one of the highest industrial fatality rates for a rich economy, with more than 4,000 work-related deaths reported from 2020 to last year, South Korean Ministry of Employment and Labor said.
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