Global unions call on Korean company to respect drivers’ rights and enter negotiations

Global union federations the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) and IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural and Hospitality Workers) have appealed to major Korean food producer Pulmuone to act to end a strike with its truck drivers that has continued since last September. The drivers, who have received international support for their stance, are protesting against unsafe working and attacks on their right to choose a trade union.

The ITF and IUF are calling on the company to step back from its attempts to disenfranchise the workers and their union of choice – the Korean TruckSol union, a member of the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers' Union (KPTU) – and address the strikers’ desire for safe rates and conditions, and trade union rights.

In a letter to Seung-Woo Nam, Pulmuone’s CEO, ITF general secretary Steve Cotton and IUF general secretary Ron Oswald wrote: We would expect that any reputable company would do its utmost to show its leadership by resolving a dispute with a trade union through social dialogue and negotiations … We ask that Pulmuone consider the approach it has taken in this matter and the implications that may have for its corporate reputation, global business opportunities and partnership.

They concluded: We firmly believe that it is high time that Pulmuone resume formal, good faith dialogue with the union to work towards resolving this dispute. Please be aware that Pulmuone is now in the spotlight of the  global labour movement, employers, community groups and consumers. Their scrutiny will not go away until a resolution has been reached with the union.

Through the IUF both global union federations have also contacted major food companies that have joint venture arrangements with Pulmuone in Korea. The IUF and ITF have called on those companies to take a close look at Pulmuone's approach to these issues and proposed that they stress to their joint venture partner their expectation that Pulmuone will agree to enter into good faith negotiations with the Korean TruckSol union.

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