South Korean parcel delivery workers stage demonstrations as second agreement is on way
Updated: 2021-06-15 16:55:08 KST
It's been more than a week since South Korea's parcel delivery workers went on strike, claiming their employers have broken an agreement they made in January to address the workers' complaints.
They say they're overworked, underpaid, and the companies promised to fix that by adding more personnel and stopping late-night deliveries.
This evening, thousands of unionized workers are protesting near the National Assembly, where their union and the government are in talks to resolve these issues.
Our Kim Do-yeon is at the site of the rally.
Do-yeon, who's there and what are they demanding?
Conn-young, more than 3-thousand South Korean parcel delivery workers are here at Yeouido Park as you can see behind me.
They're holding this demonstration while the government, the parcel delivery workers' union and a number of experts meet a few blocks away at the National Assembly.
The workers are demanding two main things.
First, they say they should not have to sort parcels at company warehouses, claiming that this is a separate job and that they don't get paid for it.
This is one cause, they say, of extreme overwork.
It seemed with the agreement back in January that this would soon be resolved, but when the implementation comes in effect was not sorted yet.
The companies are saying that they can't take the steps for at least another year because there are other steps they have to take first.
The delivery workers, however, insist that the changes be made now.
The workers also want some changes to the original deal.
In January, they agreed that hours would be limited to 60 a week.
But in fact, that would reduce the amount of money they make, so they want instead to get paid more for each delivery.
Part of the reason for this conflict is the huge increase in parcel deliveries since the start of the pandemic.
"Since last year, we've had 21 people lose consciousness from working too much. We're here because the discussions among the related parties are ongoing. But for the past six months, the talks haven't gone anywhere and the things they agreed to have not been implemented."
Right. It's clear there's a lot of anger about this issue.
Still, when it comes to protests, the social distancing rules would seem to limit the size of the crowd they can have there.
That's right Conn-young you can hear the loudspeakers now, but there were tussles with the police as they set up the stage.
The police tried to stop them, and even told them a few times to disperse because they were violating the distancing rules.
But that didn't stop them, and despite a few physical confrontations, the speakers did make it to the stage.
These workers have from across the country, and they plan on protesting here overnight as the discussions at the Assembly are set to continue until Wednesday.
The goal is to have an agreement by then, which will hopefully end the strike and get delivery services back to normal.
Back to you, Conn-young.