Strikes shut South Korea’s ports

More than 18,000 operators of construction machinery in South Korea are set to strike June 16 to press for cheaper fuel and higher pay, joining thousands of truckers who walked off the job last week, effectively shutting down the country’s ports. About 14,000 truckers walked off the job June 13 after talks on higher pay and cheaper diesel broke down. The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) also opposes President Lee Myung-bak’s privatization and pension plans. Lee, elected by a landslide, has seen his popularity plummet after an unpopular deal to resume imports of US beef—which has also sparked massive protests in Seoul in recent days. (Reuters, June 16)

See our last posts on the oil shock, South Korea and the Korean peninsula.