It is more than one-month late, but Korean truck drivers finally have the guarantee of safe rates of pay that the government promised.
It is a major victory for the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union Cargo Truckers Solidarity Division (KPTU-TruckSol) that has campaigned hard for a minimum wage system for the road freight market for 18 years, to make the industry fairer for workers and the roads safer for everyone.
Victory came on 12 December, when the Korean Road Safety Freight Rates Committee passed ‘safe rates’ for road freight transport workers, well after the legal deadline of 31 October.
It means that drivers of specialised vehicles carrying export-import containers and bulk cement will receive legally guaranteed rates of pay from 1 January 2020.
Currently, outsourcing has created a ‘race to the bottom’ in the industry, with low wages forcing truck drivers to overload, speed and drive dangerous, long hours day and night.
Noel Coard, ITF inland transport section secretary, sent his congratulations: “We commend the strength and tenacity of the KPTU to achieve safe rates in South Korea. The ITF and all the unions of our road section are calling for safe rates to be a global standard. It’s very simple: safe rates saves lives!”
For the KPTU-TruckSol, this victory only begins they next battle. It is now demanding:
- safe rates throughout the road freight industry; for all drivers of all vehicles and all kinds of freight
- safe rates for the entire transport industry; to tackle the scourge of precarious employment in the delivery and taxi industries
Mr Coard concluded: “If governments and multi-national companies are serious about road safety, then they must join us in Sydney, Australia, 19-20 March 2020 where unions from across the globe will be joined by industry leaders to discuss how safe rates can be further implemented.”