Wage increase agreements reached last year between labor and management moved up an average of 3.6 percent, the first upward trend in three years, state data showed Sunday.
Figures from Statistics Korea and the Ministry of Employment and Labor showed the increase at workplaces with 100 or more employees. The wage average increase was 4.1 percent in 2014 but shrank after that, down to 3.7 percent in 2015 and to 3.3 percent in 2016.
Pay raises were higher in the private sector at 3.7 percent, compared to 3 percent at public firms. It was the other way around in 2016, when hikes were 3.3 percent for private companies and 3.4 percent at public firms.
Management-union wage deals are mostly reached early in the year and thus do not reflect various stipends paid at year-end, such as special bonuses, overtime pay and reimbursements for unused vacation days. They also do not reflect inflation rates.
Pay raises were the biggest at workplaces with 300 or fewer employees at 4.1 percent. The average raise was 3.5 percent at workplaces with 300 to 499 employees, 3.9 percent at employers of 500 to 999 workers and 3.2 percent at places that had 1,000 or more staff.
By types of work, the biggest increase -- 5 percent -- went to sewage, waste disposal and recycling workers. The smallest increase -- 1.5 percent -- was recorded for workers in educational services.
Employees in facility management and support services received a 4.8 percent average increase, while those in arts, sports and other leisure services got 4.3 percent. The rise in retail and wholesale pay came to 4 percent, and it was 3.8 percent for manufacturing, 3.7 percent for health and welfare, 3.5 percent for publishing, broadcasting and information services and 3.4 percent for construction.
"The low increase rate in 2016 was affected by the nation's economic growth rate, which stopped in the 2 percent range, and the restructuring in the shipbuilding industry," a government official said in his analysis. "Last year, the repercussions from the shipbuilding industry revamp dissipated and economic growth expanded to 3.1 percent, resulting in the turnaround for pay increase agreements." (Yonhap)