Currently, the governmental committee is discussing the minimum wage to be applied in 2017. Users are requesting to apply different minimum wage depending on the industry. According to their demand, payment below minimum standard is allowed in 7 industries out of 21, including wholesale and retail, transport, accommodation, restaurant, real estate, business support, arts and sports, and other personal services.

 

 They claim that these industries are not able to pay for personnel expenses and the portion of short-time workers is bigger comparing to other industries. They also argue that most of workers in the 7 industries work for supplementary income, rather than making a living.

 

 However, we can find large corporations such as department stores, large marts, condominiums, hotels, large restaurants, entertainment bars, manpower supply business, and air transportation. In spite of the large scale of the businesses, they are employing irregular workers through indirect employment to lower the wages. Also, wage is not a primary factor for the ability to pay for small businesses. What needs to be addressed is increasing rents, fees of the franchise headquarters, unfair transactions of the subcontracting. Lowering the wage should not be a solution for financial restrictions.

 

 Among various reasons why there are many short-time workers, the biggest reason is that the users hire irregular workers to avoid employment of regular workers. The workers usually don’t get to choose the type of employment. Also, the wage is used to make a living, even if it is spent as supplementary income. All workers choose to work dreaming of a more relaxed life. Whether the money is spent on a cup of coffee or a meal, everything is connected to the worker’s life.

 

 But are the user’s representatives telling all the reasons? We doubt if they are hiding their real intentions.

 

 The Korea Women Workers' Association looked at the minimum wage workers in the industry through statistics of March 2016. The number of workers who belong to the minimum wage range (90-110% minimum wage) in our country is 1,846,000. These workers are immediately affected by the rise and fall of the minimum wage. On the other hand, the number of workers in the seven industries whose wage is demanded to be paid below current minimum wage is 1,158,000, taking up 62.7% of the total workers. In fact, low-wage workers are concentrated on seven industries. Adjusting the standard for the 7 sectors can cause lowering the wage of 62.7% of the workers in the minimum wage range.

 

 More surprisingly, the number of workers in the minimum wage range decreases to 1.56 million when we exclude sectors that user representatives have no direct interest such as health and social welfare services, public administration and social security administration, education service industry, agro-fishery, and employment in households. Among the 1.56 million workers, the proportion of workers in the 7 industries reaches 76.9%. Reducing the minimum wage for the 7 industries leads to lowering the minimum wage in general. This is what the user representatives are secretly aiming for.

 

 The consequences of reduced minimum wage will be even worse for women workers. The proportion of women who receive minimum wages is 64%. The high proportion of women among low-wage workers is caused by undervaluing the value of women's labor and abusing non-regular workers. Among women workers who are affected by the minimum wage, the proportion of female workers working in the seven industries is 61.8%. The proportion increases up to 79.9% if we exclude the sectors that users have no direct interest. If the minimum wage is differently applied, female workers will bear the burden of dual discrimination.

 

 Paying the minimum wage differently is part of a plan to create distrust between the workers. The intension of dividing workers into nano-sized particles for better control is behind this policy. On the 23rd, tomorrow, the Minimum Wage Committee will address this issue. If the tricks of the user’s representatives are accepted at the committee, they will face strong resistance of women workers.

 

 

<Scope of Minimum Wage Workers by Industry (Sorted in descending order)>

Unit: persons
Source: National Statistical Office economic activity census (March, 2016)

Male

Female

Total

 

I. Accommodation and restaurant business

128,606

286,473

415,079

G. Wholesale and Retail

99,247

214,006

313,253

C. Manufacturing

67,551

142,377

209,928

N. Business Facilities Management and Business Support Services

79,922

108,859

188,781

Q. Health and social welfare services

15,097

156,856

171,953

S. Associations and organizations, repair and other personal services

30,341

63,093

93,434

F. Construction

72,105

7,231

79,336

P. Educational Services

16,399

52,516

68,915

H. Transportation

53,633

7,929

61,562

O. Public Administration, Defense and Social Security Administration

28,145

29,451

57,596

R. Arts, sports and leisure services

20,139

28,578

48,717

L. Real estate and leasing

15,814

21,994

37,808

A. Agriculture, forestry and fisheries

12,892

19,210

32,102

M. Professional, scientific and technical services

11,726

14,877

26,603

K. Finance and insurance

3,396

10,861

14,257

J. Publishing, Video, Broadcasting and Information Service

6,622

5,984

12,606

T. Employment activity in households and self-produced production activities not otherwise classified

9,790

9,790

D. Electricity, gas, steam and water supply business

1,581

1,241

2,822

E. Sewage and waste disposal, recycling of raw materials and restoration of environment

877

1,100

1,977

B. Mining

U. International and Foreign Organizations

 

664,093

1,182,426

1,846,519


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