South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) have agreed to a wage hike issue for the DPRK workers employed by South Korean companies running factories in the Kaesong Industrial Complex, Yonhap News Agency reported Tuesday citing industry sources.
The agencies from the two sides, which were in charge of managing the inter-Korean industrial zone, agreed Monday to raise the monthly minimum wage for DPRK workers by 5 percent from 70.35 U.S. dollars to 73.87 dollars.
The hiked rate will be applied to wages from March this year. The DPRK had called for a 5.18 percent wage hike, but South Korea had instructed its companies to pay the existing level of wages while promising to pay the hiked wages after the inter-Korean agreement.
The agencies from the two sides also agreed to let the South Korean companies pay seniority allowances for DPRK workers in Kaesong, which would be equivalent to an 8-10 percent hike in wages.
The wage row in the inter-Korean factory park came after 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 the minimum wage for its workers in Kaesong from 70.35 dollars to 74 dollars, topping the growth ceiling of 5 percent agreed upon by an inter-Korean agreement.
The Kaesong industrial zone has been seen as the last remaining symbol of inter-Korean economic cooperation. Some 120 South Korean companies employing about 53,000 DPRK workers are operating at the zone.