Corporate watchdog to file complaint against truckers’ union for obstructing investigation

SEOUL– South Korea’s antitrust regulator said Wednesday it has decided to file a criminal complaint against a truckers’ union for obstructing its on-site investigation during its strike last year.

The move came after officials from the watchdog were denied entry to the offices of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union three times in early December, according to the Fair Trade Commission (FTC).

The investigators were looking into possible violations by the truckers’ union, such as forcing others to join the strike that ran from late November to early December.

Under the South Korean law, obstructing the investigation by the FTC officials can result in imprisonment of up to three years or a fine of up to 200 million won (US$161,300).

The organization has been claiming it has no obligation to respond to the FTC, as it is a labor union not subject to local fair trade regulations.

The government, however, points out that the organization, established by individual truckers, was not authorized as a labor union, and that its members cannot be considered as workers as defined under the law.

Thousands of local truckers carried out the strike, which lasted for around two weeks late last year, demanding the government extend the Safe Trucking Freight Rates System guaranteeing minimum wages, originally planned to expire after 2022, and make it permanent.

The truck drivers later voted to end their weekslong walkout on Dec. 9, after their collective action incurred massive supply disruptions across industries and prompted the government to issue back-to-work orders.

The freight rate system was abolished as planned in December.

The truckers’ union currently has 22,000 members, accounting for 5 percent of the country’s truck drivers. The members, however, take up around 83 percent of the total drivers in the cement industry and 32 percent of container truckers, according to the FTC.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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