Korea drivers’ strike grows, hitting Busan Port throughput

An escalating strike by members of South Korea’s Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union has begun to have a significant effect on port volumes. Starting early last week the strike movement was now aiming to prevent raw materials getting to semiconductor and petrochemical plants, while also targeting container movements. Many roads were blocked by drivers sitting in orderly rows and columns some two metres apart from each other – thus covering a major area of road.

At Busan port, which accounts for 80% of the country’s container activity, traffic was down to a third of normal levels on Friday, a government official said.

At Incheon port it had fallen to 20% of normal levels. At the port for Ulsan container traffic has been suspended completely since Tuesday June 7th

The union said a meeting with the government on Friday ended without an agreement on better pay and they would meet again on Saturday June 11th.

Meanwhile, in Germany last week the union representing dockworkers at Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Wilhelmshaven, Bremen, and elsewhere staged a strike that they called “a warning to employers”.

Three-quarters of port employees in Germany are unionized. The union is demanding compensation for inflation.

Talks were continuing in Germany with the workers expected to remain on the job after the brief stoppage.