'We're not your enemy', say Korean truckers on strike

STORY: South Korean trucker Kim Young-chan is making sure his vehicle still runs okay after sitting idle for more than a week.

He's one of about 25,000 truck drivers on strike in the country over minimum pay rules.

Faced with soaring fuel costs, they say minimum pay protections are all that stand between them and poverty.

But the current government has called them well paid: "labor aristocracy."

"Labor aristocracy? That is nonsense. Are we getting well paid? Our money is stretched so we can eat and live for a month. How can we be a labor aristocracy?"

During the strike action, the truck drivers have been living in makeshift tents.

This is the second time they have been on strike in less than six months and the action has disrupted South Korea's supply chain.

The government and the union have sat down for talks twice but remain far apart on two issues -

extending the minimum pay rules beyond the end of this year and expanding them to benefit more truckers.

Now, South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol is preparing to widen a back-to-work order.

Yoon has accused the truckers of holding the nation's economy hostage.

The industry ministry said on Thursday that the strike action had cost $1.2 billion in lost shipments over the first seven days.

But truckers, like Kim, remain defiant and have vowed to fight on.