|Members of the Committee for the Prevention of Work-related Deaths of Delivery Workers pay tribute to delivery workers who died due to overwork at a press conference held at the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions in Jung-gu, Seoul, in this Sept. 17 photo. / Korea Times photo by Seo Ji-hun|
By Lee Hyo-jin
Parcel delivery workers vowed not to work on Saturdays for the next two weeks following the recent death of an overworked fellow worker, said the Committee for the Prevention of Work-Related Deaths of Delivery Workers, Tuesday.
Over 4,000 courier service workers are expected to participate in the group action.
Although they announced that the delivery strikes will be held on the next two Saturdays, they will continue not working on Saturdays if the government and the logistics industry fail to form a negotiation group for improvement of working conditions, said the committee.
The move comes after the recent death of a 48-year-old delivery worker last Thursday, marking the eighth case this year alone.
The deceased delivery worker surnamed Kim was an employee at CJ Logistics center in Gangbuk District, northeastern Seoul. He was transferred to a hospital after falling unconscious in his truck due to breathing difficulties around at 7:30 p.m., but died shortly after.
He did not have any particular health issues, according to his colleagues, making his death possibly related to his excessive workload.
Kim, who worked as a delivery person for 20 years, had to work for more than 14 hours a day, starting from 6:30 a.m. to around 10 p.m., stated the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU). He delivered approximately 400 parcels per day.
"It is unacceptable that another death has occurred after the labor minister vowed to improve working conditions during his visit to a CJ Logistics center in September," said the union, urging the government and the logistics industry to come up with measures to prevent further deaths.
"The government didn't even keep its earlier promise made ahead of Chuseok that it will employ 10,000 additional workers to sort the parcels," the union added.
Following increasing demand for parcel delivery amid the coronavirus pandemic, the excessive workload and long working hours of employees have become a serious issue.
The number of delivery parcels from February to July this year has surged 24 percent compared to the same period in 2019, according to data from the Environment and Labor Committee at the National Assembly.