First talks to end S. Korea truck strike fail

STORY: South Korea failed to reach agreement with striking truckers in a first session of talks on Monday (November 28).

That's according to the Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union.

It marks the fifth day of a nationwide walkout, which is causing supply chain glitches and a shortage of concrete at building sites.

The government estimates daily losses from the stoppage at around $224 million, with supplies of cement and fuel for gas stations also running short.

Container traffic at ports was barely a fifth of normal levels on Monday morning.

It is the second major strike in under six months by thousands of truckers demanding better pay and conditions.

And the lack of a resolution makes it more likely that Seoul will compel strikers to return to work.

The union said it had asked the government to reverse steps towards issuing a so-called 'work start order'", which it called "undemocratic and anti-constitutional".

It added that the next round of talks is set for Wednesday (November 30).

If the work start order is enforced, failure to comply can lead to cancellation of trucker licenses and three years in jail, or a fine of up to 30 million won - that's over $22,000.

The strike is disrupting industrial activity at a time when Asia's fourth-largest economy, which is dependent on exports, already expects a slump in growth.

President Yoon Suk-yeol has criticized the strike as taking the nation's logistics "hostage" in the face of an economic crisis.

His office said he would hold a cabinet meeting on Tuesday (November 29) to consider a work start order.