Despite South Korea’s generally strong response to Covid-19, poor health and safety conditions at Coupang have led to over 150 workers becoming infected. Among other serious health impacts, a relative of one of the workers has been declared brain-dead from the disease.
Pursuing a business model similar to Amazon’s, Coupang hires many workers on insecure contracts and they face high barriers to unionisation. However, workers have now formed an informal Coupang Victims Alliance and are receiving support from KPTU, including legal advice, a fact-finding investigation and media outreach. The ITF has also written to warehousing and logistics unions worldwide, asking them to send messages of support to the Coupang workers.
The e-commerce sector has seen a major boom during the Covid-19 pandemic, as physical shopping has become much harder and people worldwide have shifted to ordering online. The ITF is clear that, now more than ever, warehouse workers enjoy strong health and safety protections and fair pay and working conditions to match the vital importance of their labour.
Please send any solidarity messages for Coupang workers to firstname.lastname@example.org.