“We are praying that the Korean Confederation of Democratic Trade Unions will not come to our logistics center.”
On the 24th, at a Coupang delivery camp (logistics center) in northern Gyeonggi Province, delivery driver Gomo, 36, joined Coupang from CJ Logistics last year. “The NUTS suddenly appeared and stopped me from working because I was a non-unionized worker,” he said, adding, “I am always afraid that the same thing will happen at Coupang.”
‘NCTU Phobia’ Spreads at Coupang
The ‘phobia of the NCTU’ is spreading among Coupang’s courier drivers. Since the establishment of the union on March 24, there has been a growing sense of crisis that “it will be our turn next” after an incident in which a courier union official assaulted employees. “I shudder to think of the time in 2021 when the Democratic Trade Union of Korea assaulted non-unionized employees of CJ Logistics and occupied the headquarters, preventing them from working,” said Yoon Mo, a courier driver, explaining that many drivers fled to Coupang.
During the CJ Logistics courier strike early last year, in which 8 percent of all drivers participated, non-unionized workers were unable to work for a while due to the interference of unionized workers. In the process, there were cases of union members assaulting non-union members.
Nowadays, courier drivers are waiting to see which of Coupang’s 100 logistics centers across the country will set up branches. There are rumors that drivers at the Dongcheon-dong logistics center in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do, where the union’s first rally was held, were unable to work due to union domination. “If a branch is formed at our logistics center, I’m thinking of moving to a place where there is no union,” said a courier who requested anonymity.
The reason couriers resist unions is simple. For them, time is money. Coupang, CJ Logistics, and others subcontract delivery services to agency owners. They are not paid a salary메이저사이트, but are paid for each package they deliver. They earn 800 to 1200 won per delivery. With their days divided into minutes, there is no time or reason for unionization, according to the drivers. “I worked 20 days last month and earned 11 million won,” said Yoon, adding, “Why do we need a union when we are satisfied with the current working system?”
‘Statuesque dreams’ of unionized and non-unionized workers
Coupang courier drivers disagree with the claims of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions that their working conditions are bad. Kim Mo-si, 36, a courier who worked as a pastor until last year, started working in February to raise money to start a church. “Within three months of starting work, my monthly income increased to about 6.5 million won,” he said, adding, “You can earn more when you get used to the job.” There are many people in their 20s and 30s who work four hours a day and earn 2 million to 3 million won.
Workers complained that political slogans that have nothing to do with their interests are being thrown around without asking for their opinions. “Since joining the union, I have seen many of my colleagues who have been called to rallies for various reasons and have been unable to work,” said Im, 36, a courier with four years of experience. “I am worried that I will have to leave Coupang after working hard to get here.”
The courier workers’ union, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, has recently been traveling around the country to establish union branches in areas where they can mobilize workers. Currently, there are branches in Yongin, Gyeonggi, Bundang, Seongnam, Ilsan, Goyang, Daejeon, Dangjin, Chungnam, and Ulsan. Along with the establishment of the branches, the workers are showing off their strength with protests. “There are many small and large disputes between union members and non-union members,” said a Coupang official, “and when there are rallies, there are often disruptions to the work of the distribution center.”