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Arson to the fore as Korean truckers strike turns nasty

Arson to the fore as Korean truckers strike turns nasty

Busan: The Republic of Korea faced its fourth straight day of trucker strikes yesterday as boxes began to mount up at the nation's ports. Around 1,600 truck drivers from the Korea Cargo Transport Workers Union claim they will continue the strike until the National Assembly adopts a bill that calls for a minimum shipping charge and a cap on brokerage fees which will ensure higher income for them. Government officials filled the gap by mobilizing as many non-union drivers as possible. However, some of the non-unionised trucks were set ablaze by the striking drivers. Overall, container cargo transportation at major ports and inland depots was running at 70 percent to 90 percent of the usual level, said officials at the Ministry of Construction and Transportation. The government deployed more police to protect trucks on highways. In 2003, a small-scale truckers' strike that began at the nation's largest port, Busan, spread nationwide, causing export losses estimated at US$540 million. At that time, strikers blocked ports and highways with their trucks. Korea has the most militant unions in Asia. [05/12/06]

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