South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol asked his cabinet to be ready to issue an imminent return-to-work order on striking truck drivers in the oil and steel industries, amid growing disruptions in the transport of key materials in the global supply chain.
Yoon said at his cabinet meeting that the government should take every measure possible to minimize inconveniences on companies and the public.
The president said in a statement issued by his office that oil, steel and other sectors that are expected to see additional damages should be prepared to issue an imminent return-to-work order. The economy is being taken hostage by the strikers, Yoon said.
Since the truckers went on strike on November 24th, the order would be the second by the South Korean government.
On Tuesday, Yoon ordered cement truck drivers back to work, a move criticized by the union of truckers as martial law. It was the first time since it was enacted in 2004 that a decree was put in place on drivers.
Since the government ordered truck drivers back to work, cement shipments have recovered to 80% of normal levels, while port container volumes have recovered to around 70%, according to the finance ministry.
It said 3 trillion won $2.3 billion in other industries have been damaged, with 3 trillion won $2.3 billion in oil, steel, petrochemicals, and other sectors unable to be transported as of Saturday. Some construction processes have been suspended in over 60% of the 1,300 construction areas nationwide, while the number of gas stations suffering from fuel shortages is growing.