First Salaries Since Redenomination Paid

Lee Sung Jin  |  2009-12-23 14:10
Changchun, China -- Some North Korean workers have received their first salary since the redenomination on November 30. The new salary was paid to a range of government workers at the level of the July 1st Economic Management Reform Measure, with some amendments; the salary for those who used to be paid less than 3,000 won rose by eight percent and that of those who used to get more than 3,000 won fell by ten percent.

As a result of a special decree from Kim Jong Il excluding payment for certain groups, notably cadres, workers and affiliates of the Party apparatus, people's committees in each province, the National Security Agency, the Peoples Safety Agency and the Central Prosecutors Office did not receive their salary at this time.

A source from North Hamkyung Province reported his experience to The Daily NK on the 22nd, Since the 17th, they have started paying salaries to the office workers in the National Budget Office. The authorities will finish paying the salaries of workers in all local factories by December 26.

The source confirmed, Those who used to receive less than 3,000 won monthly have been given an eight percent increase, and the rest have received a ten percent salary cut. These standards are based on the level of the time right after the July 1st Economic Management Reform Measure.

According to the salary standards set at that time, light workers in repair stores or veterans factories received around 1,200 won per month; construction workers in municipal construction units, rural construction units or city management offices in charge of urban sanitation affairs got around 1,500 won, and for workers in heavy industry such as mining or electricity generation around 1,700 won.

Teachers and office workers receive a similar level to those in heavy industry. Factory and enterprise managers and cadres within the Party apparatus receive between 3,300 and 5,000 won depending on service length and position.

The first recipients of salary are government workers which operate inside the national budget, such as provincial statistical bureaus, local banks, health organizations, educational organizations, hotels for foreigners, No. 5 Office (which earns foreign currency for the Workers Party) foreign trading enterprises, No. 8 Office (which produces necessities for cadres of the Central Committee of the Party) and the Amisan Farm, which produces vegetables and fruits for cadres of the Central Committee.

Sources reported to The Daily NK, Those workers are supposed to get their salaries by the 26th of this month. In the case of local factories, which are not working now, the Central Committee will pay 100 percent of their salaries, but only this time.

A North Hamkyung Province source explained further that, The General (Kim Jong Il) said that the authorities must not pay salaries to cadres before workers. Therefore, cadres were excluded this time.

According to several The Daily NK sources, the atmosphere and the attitude of the North Korean authorities is totally different from that in 2002. Since the 8th of this month there have been daily meetings with party committee managers and other local cadres, while the authorities have been trying hard to collect the public reaction to the redenomination through chairpersons of peoples units and managers of factories and enterprises.

While North Korean residents have welcomed this measure, they also seem doubtful as to whether or not the authorities will continue to take care of residents in this way.

The Daily NKs source said, When the July 1st Economic Management Reform Measure was publicized, they gave us salaries for a few more months, but it all eventually went up in smoke.

Naturally, now that salary standards have been confirmed, residents are turning their attention to state prices.

Since the state prices have not been publicized yet, the jangmadang is still a total non-event, a source explained, Even though we want to spend money, there are no traders there. Now we have to worry about food with cash in hand.
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