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The ITF congratulates Korean truck drivers and calls on the South Korean government, ruling party and clients to cooperate towards a permanent ‘Safe Rates’ system applicable to all sectors

Actualités 15 Jun 2022

At 10:40pm (KST) on 14 June, the Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union Cargo Truckers’ Solidarity Division (KPTU-TruckSol) reached an agreement with the South Korean Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport (MoLIT) on the continuation of the Safe Rates system.  


According to the agreement, the MoLIT has promised to “continue to propel forward the Safe Rates system and discuss expansion to other freight types.” In response, KPTU-TruckSol suspended its national strike, which began a just over a week ago on 7 June.  


In addition to the agreement reached with MoLIT, KPTU-TruckSol also signed agreements with three major transport industry business associations committing to work together to achieve the legal revisions necessary to make Safe Rates permanent and applicable to all sectors. Similar agreements were reached with the Democratic Party, which holds a majority in the South Korean National Assembly, and the minority Justice Party.  


“These agreements are an incredible achievement,” said ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton. “They represent a broad understanding among major stakeholders of the importance of the Safe Rates system for guaranteeing transport workers’ rights and road safety,”  


“South Korean truck drivers have succeeded in leading the government and transport companies towards a more sustainable road transport industry, but they’ve also succeeded in building a broad-based understanding and support for Safe Rates among the Korean public.” 


On Sunday night it appeared that the ruling People Power Party and client associations would also enter into an agreement with KPTU-TruckSol, at the last minute they backed out and failed to take back the continuation of the Safe Rates system.  


“We are deeply disappointed by the cowardly backtracking of the ruling party and client associations,” said Cottom. “We call on them to work together with KPTU-TruckSol and other stakeholders to make Safe Rates permanent and applicable across the industry,” said Cotton.  


Cotton also reiterated the ITF’s plans to pursue legal action in relation to the mass arrest of striking workers and other rights abuses that took place during the strike.  


“We congratulate TruckSol members and all Korean truck drivers who took part in the strike,” said Flemming Overgaard, ITF Road Section Chair. “Your determined action, which had a massive impact on the Korean and global economies, has put Safe Rates on the international agenda and is an inspiration to transport workers fighting for similar systems in their own countries. The ITF and all its road transport affiliates thank you for your commitment and perseverance.”  


The South Korean Safe Rates system and other similar systems globally guarantee minimum pay rates for owner truck drivers. These rates ensure that drivers can cover the costs of operating their vehicles and can be adjusted to make up for rising fuel costs. Research shows that by ensuring drivers a fair income, Safe Rates systems help eradicate dangerous on-road practices that lead to accidents. 


Attachment: KPTU-TruckSol Press Release  

Press release: KPTU-TruckSol Reaches Agreement with the MoLIT during 5th Round of Negotiations.

- TruckSol and the MoLIT agree to continue to propel forward the Safe Rates system - 

TruckSol carried out the 5th round of negotiations with the MoLIT from 20:00 to 22:40 on 14 June. 

- Participants:

(MoLIT) Yoon Jinhan Transport Logistics Department Secretary, Gu Hyeonsang Logistics Policy Director, Park Jinhong Logistics Industry Director, Jo Taeyeong Safe Rates Team Leader

(TruckSol) Kim Taeyeong First Vice President, Park Jaeseok General Secretary, Lee Gwangjae Seoul-Gyeonggi Branch President, Kim Dongsu Daegu- North Gyeongsang Branch President


TruckSol reached an agreement on the wording ‘will continue to propel forward the Safe Rates system and promise to discuss expansion to other freight types’ at the 5th round of negotiations with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MoLIT). In addition, KPTU-TruckSol demanded that members returning to work should face no retaliaton, and the MoLIT promised to actively cooperate in this matter. 

In order to normalise the logistics industry, the MoLIT and TruckSol have agreed to the following:


  • Fully symphasising with the urgency of resolving conflicts arising from the recent conflict in the logistics industry, the MoLIT and TruckSol have agreed to the following.


  • The MoLIT will report on the performance of the Safe Rates system immediately as soon as the bodies of the National Assembly have been formed.  


  • The MoLIT will continue to propel forward the Safe Rates system (container, cement), and discuss expansion to other freight types and other matters.


  • In full sympathy with the hardship of truck owner drivers due to the increase in fuel prices, the MoLIT will consider expansion of fuel subsidies to ease the burden on drivers, and support and cooperate to achieve the rationalisation of transport rates.


4. TruckSol will return to work immediately, and the MoLIT will make the utmost efforts to support workers’ return to work.


TruckSol reached agreements on the abolition of the sunset clause and expansion of Safe Rates to more freight types with the Democratic Party and the Justice Party on 9 June and 10 June respectively. Further, TruckSol received a promise from the MoLIT to continue to propel forward the Safe Rate system and discuss expansion to other freight types through negotiations. We call on the ruling People Power Party to respond a dialogue with TruckSol. 


Furthermore, in addition to the negotiations with the MoLIT, TruckSol reached an agreement with three transport company associations (Korea Freight Forwarders Association, Korea Trucking Association, Korea Integrated Logistics Association) on abolition of the sunset clause and expansion of the Safe Rates system, compliance with safe rates, and guarantee of fair pay due to fuel prices increases. The signing ceremony will take place tomorrow.


Thus, TruckSol members will suspend strike action and return to work in 16 locations nationwide. TruckSol calls on the government and the National Assembly to keep their promises by immediate passing legislation to abolish the sunset clause.


TruckSol has been supported by numerous civil society organisations and international trade unions during the strike. We are sorry for the concern the strike caused to the public. We extend our deep appreciation for your support.