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Parcel Workers to Boycott Excessive Work Hours before Thanksgiving Surge

Write: 2020-09-17 14:25:17

Photo : KBS News

Anchor: A labor union of delivery workers nationwide has decided to suspend parcel classification work, the long process of sorting boxes by category and destination before actual deliveries are made, starting from next week. Coming ahead of a massive increase in gift delivery before the Chuseok holiday later this month, they said the workload has already led to many deaths. 
Kim Bum-soo has more. 


[Sound bite: Parcel Workers' Union demonstration (Sep't. 16 / Korean/English translation)]
"Measures for death from overwork! We will only face death! Add more workers for parcel classification!"
"Add more workers immediately! Decide to increase the workforce for parcel classification! Decide, decide, decide!"

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a sharp surge in parcel delivery demand.  

Ahead of the anticipated rise in gift deliveries before the Chuseok thanksgiving holiday this month, the parcel service workers' union says its members have already reached their limit.

[Sound bite: Chairman Kim Tae-won - National Parcel Delivery Workers' Union (Sep't. 17 / Korean/English translation)]
"The Chuseok delivery volume will really start pouring in from September 21. Deliveries will be disrupted due to our boycott of sorting work. The overwork death prevention committee [of the union] has already announced our desperate position that we must prevent more deaths despite an anticipated failure in deliveries." 

According to the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, seven parcel workers died due to overwork from January to August this year. 

Unionized workers say that a substantial amount of their work hours are spent sorting parcels, and urged delivery companies to hire people for that task at least temporarily during the peak season. 

Some 95-point-five percent of nearly 44-hundred parcel workers voted in favor of boycotting the task, which they say they aren't paid for. 

[Sound bite: Chairman Kim Tae-won - National Parcel Delivery Workers' Union (Sep't. 17 / Korean/English translation)]
"The committee would like to clarify again that we are willing to withdraw the boycott and return to dialogue if realistic solutions are prepared to prevent parcel workers from dying due to overwork." 

Average work hours for delivery workers in South Korea currently stand at around 71 hours a week. 

According to the transport ministry, the anticipated parcel volume this thanksgiving holiday is expected to rise more than 30 percent compared to last year. 
Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.

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