SEOUL: The South Korean government is expected to order truckers serving the petrochemical and steel sectors to return to work this week as a national strike by truckers entered its 14th day on Wednesday (Dec 7), media reported on Wednesday.
Late last month the government told truckers serving the cement industry, who made up around 10 per cent of the 25,000 truckers involved in the strike, to return to work.
Another “start-work order”, this time aimed at helping the petrochemical and steel sectors, is likely to be issued after President Yoon Suk-yeol meets with his cabinet on Thursday, online media outlet Money Today reported citing an unnamed high-ranking official in the presidential office.
Asked for comment by Reuters, the presidential office had no immediate response.
The strike has disrupted supply chains, and cost South Korea 3.5 trillion won (US$2.65 billion) in lost shipments over the first 12 days, the industry ministry said on Tuesday.
The strike has reduced shipments of petrochemicals overseas to just about 5 per cent of normal levels, while domestic shipments are at about 50 to 90 per cent, the transport ministry said on Tuesday.
Several companies are considering cutting production starting next week either due to shortages of raw materials or because their inventories are piling up, or it added.
Steel shipments were 47 per cent below normal on Monday, the ministry said.
Shipments of cement have bounced back to 93 per cent of normal levels from 10 per cent earlier in the strike, thanks to the government telling truckers serving the industry to get back to work, according to lobby group Korea Cement Association.