Labor, management at odds over adopting sector-specific minimum wage

The Minimum Wage Commission, with nine representatives each from labor unions, management and the public, holds its sixth plenary session at the Government Complex Sejong, Thursday. Yonhap

Labor and management representatives are locked in a contentious standoff over whether to implement sector-specific minimum wages as part of ongoing discussions to set the 2025 minimum wage.

The proposal to establish separate wages for different industries has been advocated by the management side in recent years, but has been consistently voted down due to strong opposition from the labor sector.

The management side argues that implementing differentiated minimum wages, previously introduced in 1988 but not upheld since, is necessary. They contend that small business owners and the self-employed have struggled financially due to what they describe as a significant rise in the minimum wage in recent years.

On the other hand, the labor sector, which criticizes the measure as constituting socio-economic discrimination, argues that differentiated minimum wages contradict the purpose of the minimum wage system, which aims to ensure that workers receive a minimum amount of money necessary for living.

The issue has once again become a point of contention for the 27-member Minimum Wage Commission, which includes nine representatives each from labor unions, management and the public. The commission 토토 began its annual deliberations on May 21.

The tripartite commission was initially expected to vote during its sixth plenary session last Thursday on whether to adopt the measure for the first time in nearly 40 years. But the vote did not take place due to opposition from the labor sector.

All eyes are on whether the issue will come to a vote during the seventh plenary session of the commission, scheduled for Tuesday.

According to sources, all nine representatives from management support the measure, while all nine labor representatives oppose it. This means that the public sector representatives — mostly scholars and researchers — will have a decisive vote if the issue is brought to the table.

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