The Ministry of Employment & Labor announced on Sept. 21 that 5,475 out of the 10,571 Korean firms with at least 100 employees completed their wage negotiations for this year until the end of August. The ratio increased from 41.8 percent to 51.8 percent between the end of July and the end of the following month.
“They recorded an average rate of wage increase of 4.2 percent, down 0.3 percentage points from a year ago, amid the slowdown of the Chinese economy, ongoing weak yen, and sluggish domestic consumption that are affecting the business sentiment,” a ministry spokesperson explained.
The ministry spokesperson also said, “During the first eight months of this year, the number of labor disputes in Korea decreased by 19.8 percent year-on-year to 65, and the number of lost work days fell 2.5 percent to 259,000 days.” It added that this was partly because of the particularly high number of labor disputes that occurred last year with regard to the ordinary wage issue.
In the automobile industry, GM Korea, Renault Samsung Motors, and Ssangyong Motors finished their negotiations, contrary to Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors. In the shipbuilding industry, Samsung Heavy Industries completed the process, but Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering are still at the negotiating table. In the tire manufacturing sector, Hankook Tire and Nexen Tire wrapped up their deals, while the trade union of Kumho Tires decided to halt a strike on Sept. 21 after some conflicts with management.