SME groups create unified front in minimum wage battle

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SME groups create unified front in minimum wage battle

Groups representing different small business owners have united to speak and protest with one voice in response to the recently announced minimum wage hike slated for next year.

Interest groups for restaurants, small-sized manufacturers and taxi drivers, among others, gathered on Tuesday afternoon at the headquarters of the Korea Federation of Micro Enterprise (KFME) in southern Seoul to announce the launch of a joint body to fight the wage hike and other problems shared by small businesses.

“We cannot accept the wage hike plan for 2019 that completely ignores the request of small enterprises to apply a different wage standard and was decided after a discussion unattended by any business representative,” said KFME President Choi Seung-jae, referring to this month’s meeting of the Minimum Wage Commission in which labor and government representatives voted for the hike rate while business representatives were staging a boycott.

“We plan to submit an objection to the Labor Ministry and file a suit to suspend the application of the new law to strongly suggest reconsideration of the next year’s wage hike,” he added.

The joint body will be out on the streets on Aug. 29 to urge protection for micro businesses. It will also set up a booth to collect various complaints regarding the business environment.

The Minimum Wage Commission decided earlier this month to raise the hourly limit by 10.8 percent next year to 8,350 won ($7.44). Small businesses, especially those that hire part-timers, have been particularly sensitive about next year’s wage hike even before the commission’s meeting.

The government has been making efforts to appease the business community. Labor Minister Kim Young-joo stressed Wednesday that the government is aware of their concerns and will come up with other policies to reduce the burden on small businesses, like financial support.

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