Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Unionized South Korean taxi drivers say they're planning a massive protest of about 100,000 people to oppose the launch of a new app-based carpool service from one of the country's largest Internet companies.
Plans for the protest were disclosed a day after a Seoul taxi driver set himself on fire near the parliament building in Seoul to oppose to the new ride-sharing service by Kakao, Yonhap reported. The man later died at a hospital.
Taxi organizations have been organizing protests for weeks. At an "emergency measures" meeting Tuesday, the representatives said the event could draw 100,000 people, according to local news service Newsis.
Kakao Corp. is best known for Kakao Talk, a mobile messaging application that includes free text and call features that has 49 million monthly active users. Its new enterprise for carpooling would have a significant impact on taxi drivers, who are not part of the network, labor unions say.
"The revision of law, related to the carpooling app, began in the National Assembly without our consultation," a committee representing the drivers said. "Kakao then unexpectedly began a carpool service."
The committee said Choe U-gi, the driver who died on Monday, was a "patriotic martyr" and the Dec. 20 protest would surpass previous rallies in size.
News of the planned protests come at a time when bus drivers in South Korea are also seeking better working conditions.
Yonhap reported Tuesday the Gyeonggi region's automobile and transport workers' union sought to reach a wage agreement with the provincial government, but failed to reach a deal.
The unions could vote for a general strike on Dec. 20, the day of the protests, according to the report.