S.Korea, DPRK agree to keep current wage in Kaesong complex for now

Source:Xinhua Published: 2015-5-22 18:09:40

South Korea and the Democratic People ' s Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed Friday to maintain the current level of wage for DPRK workers in the Kaesong industrial complex for the time being, Seoul's Unification Ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs said.

From early this week, officials from the management committees of the two sides for the Kaesong industrial zone have made intensive consultations about the wage issue and reached a final agreement Friday, the ministry said.

Under the agreement, South Korean companies running factories in Kaesong would be allowed to pay wages for DPRK workers at the current level first and the remainder of increased wages later in accordance with the results of the future inter-Korean consultations.

The ministry said that Pyongyang accepted Seoul's call for the wage payment at the current level until authorities of both sides reach a separate agreement on the wage issue.

The Kaesong wage row, which has continued for about two months, came as the DPRK revised labor regulations in November 2014 without consulting with South Korea and unilaterally notified the South side of its decision in late February.

Under the revision, the DPRK raised minimum wages for workers in Kaesong from 70.35 US dollars to 74 dollars, topping the growth ceiling of 5 percent agreed upon by an inter-Korean agreement.

South Korea has called for the wage hike to be discussed through an inter-governmental dialogue, but the DPRK has claimed that it was a matter of internal affairs in which the South side cannot intervene.

The Kaesong industrial zone, launched in late 2004 and jointly managed by the two Koreas, has been seen as one of the key symbols of inter-Korean economic cooperation. Some 120 South Korean companies hiring 53,000 DPRK workers are operating in the park.

Posted in: Asia-Pacific

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