South Korean firms in an inter-Korean factory park in North Korea plan to pay wages to their North Korean employees this week, a government official said Monday.
The move came days after Pyongyang accepted Seoul's tentative offer of wage payments for North Korean workers at the factory park in North Korea's border city of Kaesong at a previously agreed level until separate consultations are held.
The deal on Friday would allow South Korean firms to pay the wage based on the US$70.35 per month that was originally set. But it called for the 124 South Korean firms to provide retroactive pay based on the outcome of separate consultations.
The official said North Korea demanded that South Korean firms in Kaesong pay March and April wages by the end of this month. The official asked not to be identified, citing policy.
The sides have yet to produce a deal over the more sensitive issue of a wage cap, which has been set at 5 percent per year.
In February, North Korea unilaterally decided to hike the minimum wage by 5.18 percent to US$74 per month for about 53,000 North Korean workers in the factory park.
The factory park, an outcome of the first-ever inter-Korean summit of leaders in 2000, is a major symbol of reconciliation between the rival Koreas.
It combines South Korean capital and technology with cheap North Korean labor to produce clothes, utensils, watches and other labor-intensive goods.
The factory park is a major source of hard-currency for the impoverished north. (Yonhap)