S. Korea raises pay for workers from North
AFPSEOUL -- South Korea has agreed a pay rise for North Korean workers at a Seoul-funded industrial complex in the North, an official said Monday.
August 7, 2012, 11:31 am TWN
Authorities from both countries agreed Friday to raise the minimum monthly wage to US$67, up 5 percent from last year, said Seoul's unification ministry that handles cross-border affairs. “The minimum wage has been raised 5 percent every year since 2007 ... in line with labor regulations,” a spokesman told AFP.
The industrial estate — established in 2004 as a symbol of cross-border cooperation — has remained operating despite rising cross-border tensions in recent years.
Some 52,292 North Koreans work at 123 small labor-intensive South Korean plants at Kaesong just north of the tense border, producing clothes, utensils, watches and other items.
Last year production was worth a record US$400 million compared to US$15 million in 2005. South Korea cut most trade with the North in May 2010 after accusing it of sinking a warship but exempted Kaesong. Supporters of the project say it serves to educate the communist state about the free-market system.
Wages are however paid to a North Korean state organization, which returns a percentage to the employees plus food and other perks.