≡ 2020 Minimum Hourly Wage Set At ￦8,590
South Korea's minimum wage for next year has been set at 8,590 won per hour, up 2.9 percent from the current rate of 8,350 won.
The Minimum Wage Commission, involving labor and business representatives and experts, reached the decision this morning after holding intense negotiations.
A single-digit increase was widely anticipated as President Moon Jae-in has signaled flexibility amid backlash from smaller firms and merchants over steep wage hikes.
Initially, the labor sector proposed 10,000 won for next year.
The business sector, however, proposed a 4.2 percent cut to 8,000 won, sparking strong opposition from the labor circle.■
≡ US Offers High-Level Talks With S. Korea, Japan Over Trade Spat
A senior government official says the United States has offered to hold trilateral high-level talks with South Korea and Japan to resolve a growing trade spat between the two Asian nations, but Tokyo has yet to respond.
Deputy chief of the National Security Office Kim Hyun-chong held talks with acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Wednesday, as well as members of the U.S. Senate.
Speaking to reporters in Washington on Thursday, Kim said Mulvaney expressed hope that the two U.S. allies will be able to resolve the dispute in a constructive manner.
Kim added that the senators he met with voiced similar sentiments, however, he would not comment on whether a possible U.S. mediation role was discussed in any of his meetings.■
≡ Busan Subway Workers Reach Pay Deal, End Strike
Subway workers in the southern city of Busan have ended their strike after the labor union and management reached a wage deal.
The Busan Transportation Corporation agreed during negotiations late Thursday to raise wages 0.9 percent and hire 540 new workers.
Unionized workers had walked off the job a day earlier demanding a 1.8 percent pay increase while management offered a freeze in wages and the hiring of additional staff.
According to the union, around 2,400 workers, including train drivers, station employees and technicians, took part in the two-day strike.■