August 30, 2018 12:11
Thousands of small business owners rallied in downtown Seoul on Wednesday to protest against the minimum wage hike.
Some 15,000 to 30,000 small business owners from across the country defied torrential downpours to express their discontent. Lawmakers from the main opposition Liberty Korea Party including floor leader Kim Sung-tae and interim leader Kim Byung-joon also took part.
The protest started at 4 p.m. and continued for more than three hours. Jaegal Changkyun, the head of the Korea Federation of Micro Enterprise, said in a speech, "The minimum wage hike designed to benefit low-paid workers is driving small business owners to extinction."
One protester who has run a beauty salon in North Gyeongsang Province for 40 years said, "I can no longer hire workers due to rising wages, but I cannot operate my business alone. The thoughtless hike is driving small businesses to bankruptcy and workers to lose their jobs."
Kim Byung-joon said in a speech, "The government claims that the difficulties you are experiencing are actually faulty statistics. How can you trust a government like that?"
The government recently fired the head of Statistic Korea, apparently because she failed to offer favorable statistics for the government's economic policies.
The protesters marched toward Cheong Wa Dae at around 6 p.m.
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