A truckers' walkout continued for the seventh day Monday, deepening logistic disruptions and delays nationwide, as their negotiations with the government for a resolution fell through, officials said.
Members of the 22,000-strong Cargo Truckers Solidarity, under the wing of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, have been on a general strike since June 7, demanding the government extend a freight rate system guaranteeing basic wages for truck drivers to cope with surging fuel costs.
The walkout caused widespread disruptions in the country's logistics networks.
On Monday, the union said it tried to find a resolution through negotiations with the land and transport ministry, but the talks ultimately broke down.
The union claimed that during their latest round of talks Sunday, the two sides went as far as reaching a tentative agreement pledging "active" efforts to help extend and upgrade the contentious freight rate system.
But the talks fell apart just ahead of the final agreement due to objections from the ruling People Power Party, the union claimed, vowing to continue the strike and "fight more powerfully."
The union is demanding an extension of the Safe Trucking Freight Rates System designed to prevent dangerous driving and guarantee minimum freight rates for truck drivers. The system, introduced for a three-year run in 2020, is scheduled to end Dec. 31.
As of Sunday, 4,100 members, or 19 percent, of the truckers' union joined the walkout nationwide, inflicting disruptions on container shipments at major sea ports and causing industrial output losses.
On Sunday, the amount of shipping containers moved in and out of the Port of Busan, the biggest port in South Korea, dived to about one-fourth of the level seen a month earlier.
The corresponding figure at the Port of Incheon, another major port, also fell by up to 20 percent from the normal level.
The ministry said major industries, including the auto, steel and cement sectors, were also experiencing output losses and falls in the shipment of their products. (Yonhap)