ANN/THE KOREA HERALD – South Korea’s antitrust watchdog said on Friday that it would deal sternly with the nation’s unionised cargo truckers for hindering an on-site probe into its head offices as their walkout continues over a week.
Investigators of Fair Trade Commission (FTC) visited the union’s headquarters in Seoul and Busan to see whether its members had forced other workers to stop their transport duties or join the strike.
Deterred by union members to enter the offices, the FTC Chairman Han Ki-jeong issued the warning during an emergency press briefing at the Seoul Government Complex, saying the union may face criminal charges if it continues to interrupt the antitrust regulator’s investigation.
“The unionised cargo truckers are systemically interrupting our officials to launch an on-site probe. We’re taking this very seriously,” the chief said.
“If the union deliberately blocks the officials’ from entering into the offices, we will take a firm stance for obstructing and refusing the probe,” he said.
This comes in response to the union workers putting a brake on the FTC officials’ probe by giving the reason for the representatives’ absence while dozens of the antitrust regulator officials visited the office earlier in the day.
The unionised cargo truckers said it is “unfair” to apply the FTC law to a labour union.
Under the current South Korean law, those who disrupt an official FTC investigation could face a prison sentence of less than three years and a fine of up to KRW200 million (USD153,990).
Yet the antitrust regulator chief stood against the union, clarifying that the unionised truckers are a “business association.”