SEOUL, Nov. 25 (Yonhap) -- The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) on Friday vowed to improve working conditions for truck drivers by making a freight rate system that guarantees basic wages for truck drivers permanent.
DP floor leader Park Hong-geun made the remarks in a meeting with members of the Cargo Truckers Solidarity, under the wing of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, who are currently on a general strike against a planned phaseout of the system.
The unionized workers launched a nationwide strike Thursday, demanding the government fully establish the Safe Trucking Freight Rates System designed to prevent dangerous driving and guarantee minimum freight rates for truck drivers amid soaring fuel prices.
The system was set to expire at the end of the year after a three-year sunset provision, but the government and the ruling party recently decided earlier this week to extend the system for three more years.
Land Minister Won Hee-ryong, however, has said the ministry will seek to issue an executive order to stop the strike if the truckers do not return to work, insisting the government cannot accept the truckers' demand.
"If the sunset provision is extended without abolishment, social conflict will arise every time the expiration date comes up," Park said.
"The Safe Trucking Freight Rates System is a social safety net for truck drivers who take the wheel day and night," Park added, calling on the land ministry to hold talks with the striking workers and accept their request to fully adopt the system.