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Minimum wage protest to be held in Seoul

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Minimum wage protest to be held in Seoul

South Korean minimum wage protests in Seoul
Photo: Yonhap News

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions will hold a rally of 10,000 workers today in Seoul.

The rally comes after failed negotiations on minimum wage between union and management representatives. Union representatives favor an official monthly rate with a hike in the hourly minimum wage from 2021’s $7.60 to $9.50 for 2022. They believe the hike will increase income, consumption and support economic growth under the income-driven policy proposed by President Moon Jae-in. However, management prefers wages to remain at an hourly rate and oppose another sharp increase—claiming it has hurt companies of various sizes, erased jobs and deepened income inequality.

Today’s rally is unlikely to lead to a decision on a hike in the minimum wage. With job loss estimates in the 300,000-500,000 range, President Moon’s drop in public approval rating and the emergence of popular opposition figures, labor is not likely to achieve their desired outcome. In the long-term, the rally will be a test for Moon, who is facing reelection in 2022.

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