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Umbrella unions oppose 2.9% minimum wage hike next year

Umbrella unions lambasted the Minimum Wage Commission’s decision on Friday to raise minimum wage by 2.9 percent next year to 8,590 won per hour.

The Federation of Korean Trade Unions called it “a minimum wage disaster,” and said it was the lowest increase rate since 2.7 percent in 1998 during the Asian financial crisis and 2.75 percent in 2010 just after the global financial crisis.

Secretary General of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (Yonhap)
Secretary General of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (Yonhap)

“If it continues like this, it would be difficult to reach a minimum wage of 10,000 won within President Moon Jae-in’s term. ‘Policy that respects labor; minimum wage of 10,000 won; and resolving polarization’ has become a completely false slogan,” the FKTU said in a statement.

“In the end, the minimum wage didn’t increase; only the minimum wage law has been revised for the worse.”

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions also criticized the decision, saying: “It was beyond neglecting the zeitgeist of ‘10,000 won minimum wage’; it was practically a decision to cut the minimum wage, which would be expected during an economic depression.”

“(The Moon administration) has trampled on the outcries of low-income workers, reversed the meaning of minimum wage and stood by the capitalists,” the KCTU went on.

“Using the government’s authority, they announced giving up on minimum wage and the abrogation of income-led growth.”

The militant umbrella union vowed to organize an all-out battle, including a general strike with low-income workers.

By Kim So-hyun (