August 10, 2018 13:36
Six intercity express bus operators running services between Incheon and Seoul on Thursday threatened to suspend business because they cannot afford the minimum wage hike.
The companies said they will ground a total of 259 buses on 19 routes between Incheon and various terminals in Seoul like Sinchon, Seoul Station and Gangnam Subway Station from Aug. 21.
They account for 75.3 percent of all 344 intercity buses between Incheon and Seoul. Chaos is expected during the morning and evening rush hours unless the operators can be persuaded to change their minds.
In an open letter, the bus operators said, "We have continued to make losses amid this year's sharp minimum wage hike and a law guaranteeing minimum breaks for bus and taxi drivers. And unlike regular urban buses, we are not getting government subsidies."
"We have reached a point where we can no longer continue business due to a shortage of drivers under increasing financial pressure and in poor work conditions," they added.
Small businesses have taken the brunt of the 29 percent minimum wage hike over the last two years. Many have launched a campaign of civil disobedience campaign against the minimum wage hike.
They pitched a tent at Gwanghwamun in downtown Seoul on Thursday and started collecting signatures against the hike. They aim to collect 1 million.
"We won't follow the government's minimum wage guidelines for next year but pay our staff based on an independent work contract," said Choi Seung-jae, the chairman of the Korea Federation of Micro Enterprise. "This civil disobedience campaign is just a struggle for our own survival."
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