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Hyundai Motor plants are operating over the weekend, as the South Korean truckers' strike continues

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English -  Despite a statewide strike by truckers that has affected ports and other South Korean industrial behemot...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English -  Despite a statewide strike by truckers that has affected ports and other South Korean industrial behemoths, like steelmaker POSCO, a massive Hyundai Motor Co plant complex added weekend output on Saturday.

On the fifth day of the strike, almost one-tenth of Friday's turnout, approximately one hundred unionised truckers gathered outside the main entrance of the Hyundai factory in the southern city of Ulsan to protest rising gasoline prices and demand increased freight rates to offset costs.

At the gates of a nearby big petrochemical complex in Ulsan, about 800 striking union members demonstrated. According to union officials, they reduced the number of vehicles to one-tenth of typical levels on Friday.

South Korea is a leading provider of semiconductors, cellphones, automobiles, batteries, and technological products. The strike has exacerbated the disruptions to global supply chains caused by China's severe COVID-19 restrictions and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Transport Ministry announced on Saturday that it would meet with union representatives to resume discussions aimed at ending the strike and urged union members to promptly return to work.

According to a Reuters witness, tensions were escalating at the country's primary seaport in Busan as union members insulted non-union drivers entering the main gate and the police on standby to guarantee trucks passed through the gate.

According to a government official, Busan handles approximately 80 percent of the nation's container traffic, which was a third of typical levels on Friday.

Some of the tens of thousands of strikers tossed rocks and water bottles at moving automobiles, and a union leader encouraged members to get up even if it meant risking jail.

"Would you like to visit the police station?" He shouted via a megaphone, and members responded with a raucous "Yes!"

"What has (President) Yoon done for us?" he asked, alluding to conservative President Yoon Suk-yeol, who entered office a month ago after running on a pro-business economic platform.

In the face of one of his first significant economic issues, Yoon has taken what he calls a neutral approach, stating that the government should not meddle in a dispute between truckers and firms that hire them.

The head of the truckers' union's Busan branch, Song Cheon-seok, told Reuters that members are prepared to escalate their demands.

Song reiterated union policy that non-union trucks will be let to pass. According to him, it mostly targets cars delivering chips, auto parts, petrochemical items, and fresh groceries.

On Saturday, some 7,350 truckers, or one-third of the union's 22,000 members, were anticipated to go on strike, according to the Transport Ministry. It is estimated that approximately 6 percent of the nation's 420,000 truckers are unionised.

According to the union, a greater number of truckers are on strike, and many non-union truckers are also opting to not work.

A Hyundai Motor union representative reported that output at the Ulsan facilities increased marginally on Friday and that the factory was working at approximately 60 percent capacity, a little increase over Thursday's 50 to 60 percent level.

Hyundai refuses to comment on the state of its operations or automobile deliveries.

Hyundai's production has been affected by the truckers' strike, and we hope production will return to normal as soon as possible, according to a company spokeswoman.

The union representative stated that Saturday's manufacturing run was unanticipated as a result of deteriorating components supply concerns, but the corporation pushed forward in an attempt to meet mounting backorders.

As a result of the strike, he claimed, Hyundai employees have begun driving completed vehicles out of the plant building and parking them in the parking lot.

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