South Korean Truck Drivers Extend Strike

South Korean truck drivers began protests Friday, threatening to severely restrict the transportation of raw materials for semiconductors and petrochemical products. About 1,000 truck drivers protested outside the plant today. The strike has halved production at Hyundai Motor’s largest plant in the industrial metropolis of Ulsan.

“There was a disruption in our production due to a truck driver’s downtime. And we hope production will return to normal as soon as possible,” a Hyundai spokesman said.

Hyundai typically produces about 6,000 vehicles a day at its Ulsan factory, including the high-margin Genesis SUV and the Ioniq 5 electric vehicle.

The fourth day of the work stoppage has severely affected traffic for businesses and slowed activity at the port.

The port of Ulsan supports about 10% of the containers in and out of the country.

South Korea’s transport ministry said that around 7,500 people will go on strike on Friday. The government estimates that about 6% of the country’s 420,000 truck drivers belong to a union.

Drivers want a wage increase, but they also want freight rates to apply to a wide range of trucks, not just container and cement trucks.

South Korea is a major supplier of semiconductors, smartphones, automobiles, batteries, and electronic products. Recent industry actions have created uncertainty in global supply chains.

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