Taxi drivers plan massive protest

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Taxi drivers plan massive protest

Taxi company associations and affiliated labor groups will organize a large-scale rally on Dec. 20 in Seoul to protest the launch of Kakao’s carpooling service app.

This decision was made to honor the Seoul taxi driver who set himself on fire on Monday in front of the National Assembly to protest Kakao’s plan for the carpooling app.

The Taxi Emergency Measure Committee, which consists of two taxi company associations and two taxi driver labor unions, held a meeting on Tuesday at the Korea Taxi Association Joint Conference Hall located in southern Seoul. There, they announced their plan to hold a protest in Seoul and said over 100,000 people will attend.

“We are planning to open our third massive protest. Over 10,000 taxis will be used to surround the National Assembly. We even plan to block Seogang Bridge,” said Kang Sing-hyo, the head of a national taxi driver labor union. “We do not care if we die while fighting off the police officers. We still are going to die any other way. Why not die while working to make our job conditions better for the next generation?”

Kang went on to criticize the Moon Jae-in administration’s stance on the issue. “The current government has abandoned over 100,000 taxi drivers and their families when they decided to allow Kakao to begin the carpooling service app,” he said.

Kang also said that details for the funeral of the taxi driver who burned himself to death are being discussed between the family and the taxi company association groups. Kakao, the company that decided to launch the controversial commercial carpool service, sent their condolences to the family member of the deceased taxi driver.

“We are deeply sorry that a death has occurred. We send our condolences [to the deceased’s family].”

Kakao also announced an official statement stating that they will work with the National Assembly, affiliated taxi company associations and the current government to resolve the problems that the drivers will go through if the carpooling service is implemented.

When asked about the exact service launch date, Kakao said, “now is not the time to discuss the launch date.” Kakao previously said that it would launch the service on Dec. 17.

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