Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Migrant workers' groups and South Korean labor unions are calling for an end to minimum wage discrimination directed at workers of foreign origin in the country.
A group representing migrant workers' rights, and South Korean civic groups, said Thursday discussions around discriminatory practices in the nation's minimum wage must stop, News 1 reported.
The coalition of activists and workers said the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises, a government agency, has been in discussions to set differing minimum-wage standards for foreign-born migrant workers, according to the report.
On July 30, the government agency had proposed foreign workers with less than one year of "training" be paid 80 percent of the minimum wage, 90 percent by the second year and 100 percent by the third year.
The activists said the proposal is discriminatory and based on nationality, religion or social status, local newspaper Maeil Business reported.
"Actually, they are trying to rob our wages," they said.
The groups said migrant workers are vulnerable, because 36 percent of foreign workers are immigrants with a stay period of less than three years, and 48 percent, or less than half, are migrant workers authorized under Seoul's Employment Permit System.
The activists also rejected a proposal from lawmaker Kim Hak-yong of the conservative opposition Liberty Korea Party.
Kim had said the minimum wage law would only apply to migrant workers after two years of training, according to reports.
The groups attempted to deliver a letter to the Korea Federation but were blocked from entering the building.
Bong Hye-young, one of the activists with the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions tore the letter following the scuffle, and said there would be no meaning in delivering the message, according to News 1.