“Change the Minimum Wage to the Best Wage” Young People Take to the Streets in Hongdae as June 28 Deadline for Minimum Wage Approaches
#minimum_wage #youth_union #part-time_workers_union #Korea
Minimum wage in Korea on 2015 is 6,030Won(5.4$) per hour, and the Unions are claiming for 10,000Won(9$).
Are we here to receive 6,030 won?” “No!”
“Are we here to receive 6,500 won? 7,000 won? 8,000 won?” “No! No! No!”
“How much are we here to receive?” “Ten thousand won!”
On June 26, two days before next year’s minimum wage is fixed, a “festival” was held all day in the streets near Hongik University (Hongdae) in Mapo-gu, Seoul demanding the minimum wage of 10,000 won.
Members of the Part-time Workers Union marched around Hongdae carrying a speaker on a wagon. The members shouted slogans like, “I want to eat barbecue pork with the minimum wage of 10,000 won,” to the beat of the dance music flowing out of the speaker. The citizens walking by waved and the part-time workers in nearby shops applauded.
The union members transformed into products often found in convenience stores where many of the members work. They wore costumes, turning into triangular rice wrapped in sea laver, instant cup noodles, French fries and soda cans. Some even wore the uniforms they where when working at convenience stores and fast food restaurants.
Jeong Min-ju, 20, said, “The wages of 20 million part-time workers cannot be decided by 27 people in a private meeting. The minimum wage should be decided at the National Assembly.”
Seo Yeong-gyo, 23, also said, “The nine CEOs (representatives of employers) on the Minimum Wage Committee argue that 1 million won a month is enough to cover the minimum cost of living, but why do people who have never lived on the minimum cost of living decide the minimum wage?”
The Youth Union also organized the 2016 Minimum Wage Festival this day. Union members shouted, “Change the minimum wage to the best wage!”
They prepared events like “Take a Picture with His Majesty, the Minimum Wage” and “Get Shaved Ice by Shattering the Frozen Minimum Wage.” One citizen who tried Jegichagi (a traditional Korean game) to Raise the Minimum Wage only managed to kick the jegi twice. But union members smiled and said, “The minimum wage rises by 10 won each time you kick the jegi. You raised the minimum wage by 20 won; you are beautiful.”
Amelsa, 19, an American student in Korea said, “The minimum wage in New York is $15 and I earned $19 an hour working part-time. The minimum wage in South Korea is too low. I agree that they should receive at least 10,000 won.”
The Minimum Wage Festival lasted until the evening. At stay.round.GEE in Seogyo-dong, a “talk” concert was held with over a hundred people attending the event. There, former lawmaker Eun Soo-mi said, “I hope that the minimum wage increases to 10,000 won and that the young people can spread their wings.”
This year’s minimum wage was 6,030 won an hour. On a monthly basis, this adds up to the minimum monthly wage of 1.2 million won. This is less than the average monthly expenses of a one-person household (1.6 million won) of an urban worker released by Statistics Korea in 2014, and is also less than the monthly living expenses of a single worker (1,506,179 won) in 2015 according to a survey by the Minimum Wage Committee.
The plenary session of the Minimum Wage Committee was held on five occasions to discuss the major issues including the minimum wage, but the committee members have failed to narrow their differences.
Labor demands an hourly 10,000 won as the minimum wage for 2017, but the management is requesting that the government freeze the minimum wage at 6,030 won, the same as this year. The committee will hold the sixth and seventh plenary session on June 27-28 and review and determine next year’s minimum wage.