|▲ Rep. Lee Hae-chan, chairman of the ruling Democratic Party in company with other members of the party's Supreme Council pays his tribute to the late Choi Woo-gi who burned himself to death during a protest rally against the launch of a carpool app business at an incense altar set up in front of the National Assembly on December 12. [Jeong Ki-hoon/The Labor Today]|
Choi Woo-gi(57 years old) has been driving a taxi for 8 years and an active labor union member for 5 years being elected as a labor union representative. He made a strong stand against the move to launch a carpool app business led by the IT industry including Kakao, urging that "the illegal transport business of private cars should be stopped." In a mass protest rally held near the National Assembly on December 10, Choi immolated himself to death in his taxi soon after he had made his last phone call to Kim Hee-yeol, a labor union leader. He left his will addressed to Rep. Lee Hae-chan, chairman of the ruling Democratic Party and Sohn Suk-hee, president of JTBC news reporting division, highlighting the illegality and dangers of the carpool app business.
Representatives of labor unions and employers' associations in the taxi transport industry who are fiercely opposed to the carpool app on the same day entered into a sit-in in a tent set up next to an incense altar for the late Choi Woo-gi in front of the National Assembly.
Kang Shin-pyo, president of the Federation of Korean Taxi Workers' Unions, strongly reacted that "the taxi and carpooling taskforce team of the ruling Democratic Party has spent time in doing only a mere formality, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport did not come up with any measures, either." "Now is time for President Moon Jae-in to take action." "I call on the government to become the one to guarantee (taxi drivers) to make a decent living, at least to make both ends meet."
Rep. Lee Hae-chan to whom the late Choi Woo-gi left his will in company with other members of the Democratic Party 's Supreme Council visited to pay his tribute to the incense altar on the afternoon of December 12 and promised to come up with the measures. Rep. Lee said that "(the carpooling) was conceived to ease the difficulties in taking a taxi during the commuting hours, but there are concerns about its possibility ultimately being exploited." " We will come up with a comprehensive measure including the reduction of licensed taxies through the consultation between the government and the ruling party."
Two national labor union federations and two employers' associations in the taxi transport industry are planning to jointly hold a mass rally with the expectation of 100,000 taxi workers on December 20 in front of the National Assembly.
reported by Lee Eun-young
translated by Kim Sung-jin
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