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Gov't affirms next year's minimum wage raise won't be changed

All Headlines 09:02 August 03, 2018

SEOUL, Aug. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's labor ministry said Friday that the country's 2019 minimum wage will be set as earlier decided, rejecting calls from businesses for the sharp raise to be reconsidered.

The ministry posted next year's minimum wage in the government's official gazette, reaffirming the state-commissioned council's recent decision to hike the wage by 10.9 percent to 8,350 won (US$7.44) per hour after a 16.4 percent rise this year.

The move indicated that the government will not review it in response to complaints filed by the groups of conglomerates and smaller firms over a steep rise in the wage.

The labor and corporate circles can lodge complaints over the council's decision and the labor minister should request the panel to review it if there are deemed plausible reasons for objections.

Small business owners, in particular, showed angry reaction to hikes in the minimum wage, saying they cannot cover growing labor costs.

The ministry's decision was widely expected as the government has never reviewed decisions by the council on the minimum wage over the past 30 years.

But amid a heated controversy over the minimum wage, industry watchers have been watching what stance the labor ministry would take over the issue. Vice Labor Minister Yi Sung-ki plans to hold a press briefing later in the day.

In his election promise, President Moon Jae-in vowed to raise the minimum wage to 10,000 won by 2020, but last month, he apologized to the public that it will be impossible to meet the target.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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