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Business representatives decide to shun minimum wage talks for next year

July 13, 2018 - 22:24 By Lee Joo-hee
Business representatives to the Minimum Wage Council have decided not to attend any of the discussions for next year’s minimum wage, reports said Friday, a decision that came after their demand to apply differential minimum wage was turned down.

Based on local laws, even without the participation of one of the three sides – government, workers and employees – the 27-member council can decide on the minimum wage level if they meet the quorum.
Members of the Minimum Wage Council walk out of a meeting that was suspended upon boycott by the members representing businesses at Sejong Government Complex on Friday. (Yonhap)

The council, which failed to meet the legal deadline on July 28, has been moving to reach a compromise by Saturday for next year’s minimum wage to be finalized by Aug. 5, when the labor minister is to make the promulgation.

Earlier, small business owners protested the government’s position, after the council on Tuesday voted down a proposal to differentiate minimum pay by business sector. Currently the members representing the government hold the casting vote.

Korea’s business groups have been demanding that they be allowed to establish different minimum wages per industry and business sizes. They have also proposed that the minimum wage level remain frozen at this year’s 7,530 won.

The workers, on the other hand, have demanded that next year’s minimum wage increase to 10,079 won ($9) per hour, up 43 percent from this year. For 2018, the minimum wage was raised to 7,530 won, up 16.4 percent from last year‘s 6,470 won.

The committee had rejected a similar proposal by the business circles last year.