SEOUL: South Korea said on Tuesday (Jul 13) that it planned to raise the national minimum hourly wage by the fastest rate in three years for 2022, given that the economy is seen on track for a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minimum Wage Commission agreed on an increase of 5.1 per cent to 9,160 won (US$8.02) an hour for next year, much sharper than this year's hike of 1.5 per cent.
Such an increase would mean a combined hike of 41.6 per cent in the hourly minimum wage since labour-friendly President Moon Jae-in took office in 2017.
Earlier this month, thousands of South Korean workers staged a rally in downtown Seoul to demand better conditions.
Marchers wearing masks blocked some of the main streets in the central district of Jongno, holding up signs with slogans such as "Stop restructuring!" and "Let's go! General strike!" video from the Yonhap news agency showed.
The protest, which a union said drew as many as 8,000 participants, backed demands for wage hikes and measures to prevent accidents.
As South Korea battles a spike in COVID-19 infections fuelled by the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus, officials had denied permission for the protest.