Thousands of unionized parcel delivery workers were set to hold a large-scale rally in Seoul on Monday to demand CJ Logistics Corp., South Korea’s largest logistics firm, agree to hold talks with striking workers seeking better working conditions.
The courier union under the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), the more militant of the country’s two major umbrella unions, said around 2,000 workers are expected to gather at the demonstration to be held in front of Cheonggye Stream in central Seoul.
Unionized CJ Logistics workers have been on a strike since late December, arguing the company has pocketed most of the profits from hikes in recent delivery charges while neglecting its responsibility to prevent unnecessary overwork, part of a deal between the government and the logistics industry reached last year.
In support of the striking workers, members of the KCTU courier union broke into and seized CJ’s headquarters office on 10 February and have since been staging a sit-in protest.
The company claims that workers occupying the building have violated Covid-19 rules and has sued the union on charges of property damage and obstruction of business.
In Monday’s rally, protesters plan to get around the antivirus rules, which only allow for a rally of up to 299 people, by having an official campaign vehicle of Kim Jae-yeon, presidential candidate of the far-left Progressive Party, at the scene as campaign events are exempt from COVID-19 restrictions.
The union has designated Monday as a tentative deadline for CJ Logistics to agree to talks.
Jin Kyung-ho, head of the KCTU courier union, plans to launch an extreme hunger strike, excluding even water and salt consumption, and the union will consider holding an industrywide walkout unless the company concedes to negotiations.