The labor community has demanded that the minimum wage applied in 2023 be 10,890 won, up 18.9 percent from this year.
On the 21st, the workers members of the Minimum Wage Committee held a joint press conference before the 5th plenary meeting in the conference room on the second floor of the Ministry of Employment and Labor in Sejong City, and as the first request of the minimum wage worker committee, 2,276,010 won (an hourly wage of 18,90 won) ) was published.
The workers’ committee said, “We demand an hourly wage of 10,890 won as a single plan for the labor community that comprehensively considers the internal and external economic conditions.”
The minimum wage is decided by the Minimum Wage Committee, in which public interest members, employers’ members, and workers’ members participate, and the gap is narrowed based on the initial request submitted by both labor and management. If the business community presents a proposal, the minimum wage level will be reviewed in earnest.
Workers’ committee members said, “The minimum wage increase must be deliberated in accordance with the decision criteria (△ worker’s cost of living, △ similar worker’s wage, △ labor productivity and income share) stipulated in Article 4 of the Minimum Wage Act. The minimum wage is at a level that does not even reach the minimum cost of living, the cost of living for single people.”
He added, “Based on the ‘household cost of living’, which is the cost of living for workers and members, an hourly wage of 13,608 won is appropriate for next year’s minimum wage, but considering the reality, we decided to set the initial demand at 80% of his wage.”
Analysts say that there is a different background to the labor community’s quick announcement of the minimum wage demand on that day.
At the 4th plenary meeting held last week, after voting, it was decided not to apply the differential application by industry with 11 votes in favor and 16 votes against. However, immediately after the vote, the public interest committee members proposed the agenda, “Let the Ministry of Employment and Labor be in charge of the ‘differential application research service for each minimum wage industry’.” In response, the labor union refused to discuss this, saying, “The intention is to prepare a basis for applying the minimum wage differential in the future,” and the meeting ended as it is.
However, as public interest members and employers’ committee members appeared to insist on discussing the agenda at the 5th plenary meeting, the labor community seems to have quickly proposed a minimum wage requirement in order to refuse to discuss the research service agenda. The intention is to put out the flames of the discussion related to differential application and move on to the discussion of the increase rate.
At the press conference on the same day, the workers’ committees made it clear that they were opposed to further discussions on the application of differential by industry. The workers’ committee criticized, “Considering the purpose of the minimum wage system of stabilizing the lives of low-wage workers, it is unconstitutional and illegal to set the minimum wage for each type of business.”
On the other hand, it is known that the business community, which wants to discuss additional issues related to differential application, does not plan to announce the initial request at the 5th plenary meeting, unlike the labor community.
In the end, the plenary meeting of the minimum wage on the same day raises the prospect that the discussion will continue as there is a heated debate over the issue of differential application.
An official from the Korea Employers’ Federation and the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Businesses explained, “The first request in the business world has not been discussed even among employers’ organizations.”
By Kwak Yong-hee, staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org