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Delivery workers, employers reach agreement on preventing overwork

Workers sort parcels at a distribution center in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
Workers sort parcels at a distribution center in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
Delivery workers reached a final agreement with their employers on Thursday to prevent overwork by placing the burden of sorting parcels on the companies.

The two sides had been in negotiations over a deal after 19 delivery workers died last year apparently due to overwork.

The agreement, which was mediated by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, stipulates that logistics firms bear the responsibility for sorting parcels before their delivery, a job couriers have blamed for their overwork.

The text also contains measures to limit nighttime deliveries.

Unionized delivery workers plan to hold a press conference later Thursday to state their position on a possible strike.

The workers earlier threatened to strike unless measures were put in place to prevent their overwork ahead of the Feb. 12 Lunar New Year holiday, when demand for deliveries is expected to soar. 

Welcoming the agreement, the ruling Democratic Party said it will seek to mediate further deals between courier employers and employees to root out delivery workers' overwork.

"I hope today's agreement will open up a pathway to build a new social relationship that values solidarity and cooperation," Rep. Jin Sung-joon said following the signing of the deal.

Jin said he hopes that "the latest agreement will lead to second and third rounds of agreement between the two parties."

Ruling party leader Rep. Lee Nak-yon also stressed that efforts should continue to let the agreement take root and further advance the country's broader logistics industry. (Yonhap)