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    A004020   KR7004020004


End-of-day quote Korea Stock Exchange  -  2022-12-05
32300.00 KRW   -4.15%
11/27South Korea's striking truckers say no deal reached in govt talks
11/24Explainer-How South Korea's trucker strike could paralyse critical supply chains
11/23South Korea truckers strike again with auto, battery supply chains at risk
SummaryMost relevantAll NewsAnalyst Reco.Other languagesPress ReleasesOfficial PublicationsSector news

South Korea truckers strike again with auto, battery supply chains at risk

11/23/2022 | 08:57pm EST


Second nationwide strike less than six months


Container traffic slows, no major damage yet - transport min


Truckers chant 'We stop, the world will stop!'


Minister warns of 'strict crack' if trucks obstruct police


Sectors from autos to petrochemicals could be disrupted

(Adds strike details, ministry and union comments)

UIWANG, South Korea, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Unionised truckers in South Korea kicked off their second major strike in less than six months on Thursday, threatening to disrupt manufacturing and fuel supplies for industries from autos to petrochemicals in the world's 10th-largest economy.

With fuel costs soaring, the truckers are calling on the government to make permanent a minimum-pay system known as the 'Safe Freight Rate' that is due to expire by the end of the year, and to expand benefits for truckers in other industries, including oil tankers.

The government has said it will extend the scheme for three years but rejected other union demands. In June, an eight-day, non-violent strike by truckers delayed cargo shipments across Asia's fourth-largest economy, costing more than $1.2 billion in lost output and unmet deliveries before it ended with each side claiming it won concessions.

The organising union kicked off 16 rallies across the country on Thursday morning, including at a port in Ulsan that houses Hyundai Motor's main manufacturing plant.

The union estimated about 22,000 are taking part in the rallies, while the transport ministry said about 9,600 people attended, and there were no clashes with police monitoring events.

As a noisy rally got under way at transport hub Uiwang, 25 kilometres (15 miles) south of Seoul, hundreds of truckers marched around the depot - watched by a heavy police presence - carrying banners and wearing headbands with the slogan "Unite Fight". They chanted, "We stop, the world will stop!" and "Let's stop driving to change the world!".

Union officials said about a thousand truckers gathered at the rally, where the head of the union's Seoul metropolitan area branch, Lee Kwang-jae, told them to take up key positions to try to block any attempts to make shipments. One person leading the protesters called out to a container truck making for a depot, "Don't embarrass yourself by working. Join us!"

They planned to split in two groups, with half staying at Uiwang and the other half heading to Pyeongtaek, about 44 kilometres (27 miles) away, which is close to ports serving China.

At Busan, South Korea's biggest port, police officers and buses were seen lined up along key routes.

Lead organiser the Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union (CTSU) has warned the strike could stop oil supplies at major refineries and transport at major ports and industrial plants.

Container traffic at ports has dropped to 40% compared to normal levels since the strike began, the transport ministry said late Thursday, but added no major damage had been reported so far as companies moved shipments pre-emptively.

The union has said almost all of CTSU's 25,000 members, about 6% of the country's truck drivers, will take part in the strike, joined by an unspecified number of non-union members.

The transport ministry estimated that about 8,000 people were camped out at 14 regions to protest overnight on Thursday.

"We have no choice but to stop all logistics in Korea," said Lee Bong-ju, head of the union, on Thursday.


Earlier this week, Transport Minister Won Hee-ryong said the Safe Freight Rate system had not been proven to improve the safety of truckers but to only raise their incomes, a reason why the government has refused to expand the scope of the scheme.

"The government and the ruling party misled, and openly defended capital saying that truckers' income levels were not low - and that if the Safe Freight Rate system were expanded, prices could rise due to increased logistics costs," Lee said.

The union is asking the government to ensure big businesses are held accountable if they violate the minimum wages rule.

"Frontline truck drivers should not be sympathetic to unjustified collective action. We will strictly crack down on truck drivers' obstruction with the police so that safe transportation can be ensured," Transport Minister Won said on Thursday.

The transport ministry said the government is open to "reasonable" dialogue, but union head Lee said that the ministry unilaterally stalled negotiations and have not made official request for dialogue since.

Industry giants including Hyundai Motor and steelmaker POSCO were forced to cut output by the June strike.

"If the cargo union strike continues, it will put too much of a burden on not only major industries, but also people's livelihoods and the national economy," said Prime Minister Han Duck-soo on Thursday.

Companies such as Hyundai Steel, petrochemical firms and a battery maker told Reuters that because the strike was expected, urgent contract volumes were shipped out and necessary raw materials were prepared in advance. However, limits in storage space and logistics would make the strike problematic if it lasted.

A Hyundai Steel spokesperson said its daily shipment of about 8,000 tonnes of steel products at its Pohang factory could not be moved on Thursday due to the strike.

The government is deploying alternatives such as military-run container transport vehicles and considering securing more storage space in case cargoes pile up. Some industry officials noted that military vehicles may not be equipped to carry products such as steel or fresh produce.

The Korea Oil Station Association is asking gas station owners to secure enough inventory ahead of the strike, an association official said earlier, while charging stations for hydrogen-powered cars have put up signs warning that supply could be cut.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park and Heekyong Yang; Additional reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Writing by Joyce Lee; Editing by Catherine Evans and Kenneth Maxwell)

ę Reuters 2022
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BONG AB (PUBL) -4.47% 1.068 Delayed Quote.32.15%
BRENT OIL -0.31% 79.48 Delayed Quote.6.41%
HYUNDAI CORPORATION -2.78% 17500 End-of-day quote.4.17%
HYUNDAI MOTOR COMPANY -0.60% 164500 End-of-day quote.-21.29%
HYUNDAI STEEL COMPANY -4.15% 32300 End-of-day quote.-21.22%
POSCO HOLDINGS INC. -2.39% 286500 End-of-day quote.4.37%
WTI -0.25% 74.329 Delayed Quote.7.66%
11/27South Korea's striking truckers say no deal reached in govt talks
11/24Explainer-How South Korea's trucker strike could paralyse critical supply chains
11/23South Korea truckers strike again with auto, battery supply chains at risk
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09/16UBS Adjusts Hyundai Steel's Price Target to 36,000 Won From 37,000 Won, Keeps at Neutra..
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08/16Hyundai Steel Company Reports Earnings Results for the Second Quarter and Six Months En..
08/12Hyundai Steel, 10 Others Fined $197 Million Over Price Fixing
07/28UBS Adjusts Hyundai Steel's Price Target to 37,000 Won From 46,000 Won, Keeps at Neutra..
07/26Hyundai Steel's Net Profit Jumps 60.7% in Q2
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Sales 2022 28 120 B 21,3 B 21,3 B
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Capitalization 4 249 B 3 220 M 3 220 M
EV / Sales 2022 0,49x
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Tong-Il An President, Chief Executive Officer & Director
Ju-Tae Choi Managing Director & Head-Process Technology
Cheon-Geun Jang Managing Director, Head-Legal & Compliance Support
Sang-Yong Kim Independent Director
Kyung-Tae Hong Independent Director
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