It is becoming increasingly common for North Korean miners employed at the Musan Mine to pay fees in order to skip work, local sources report.
A practice referred to as “8.3 Earnings” permits workers to pay a specified fee each month to their place of employment in return for being able to skip work and engage in their own private business activities.
As exports of North Korea’s natural resources to China have fallen drastically in the wake of UN sanctions, the production rate at Musan Mine has taken a major hit. Workers who once received around 300,000 won in monthly wages are now missing out on regular rations and are reliant on supplies coming in from other regions of the country to survive.
“The dramatic fall in Musan Mine exports has led to a situation where workers aren’t getting paid for work and don’t receive food or anything else,” said a North Hamgyong Province-based source. “Many more workers are just paying their way out of coming to work to focus on their own private business activities.”
Coal production remained at normal levels until 2016, with Musan Mine workers receiving wages that generally matched up with what market merchants were earning at the time. However, the situation has changed significantly. ......