SEOUL, April 19 (Korea Bizwire) – Some South Korean liberal groups are calling for the redistribution of wealth accumulated by Korea’s top 30 companies, citing the growing gap between the rich and poor that is devastating the middle class.
At a protest held yesterday, liberal activists from groups like Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and Korea Alliance of Progressive Movements gathered in front of the Federation of Korean Industries head office building in Yeouido to slam the growing retained earnings among the top 30 companies in South Korea while insisting the wealth must be returned to the people.
Despite the slow economic growth the country has experienced recently, retained earnings of companies like Samsung, Hyundai Motor Group and SK increased six percent this year compared to the same time last year.
Samsung reported their retained earnings to be worth nearly 254 trillion won, followed by Hyundai Motor Group at nearly 130 trillion won.
Retained earnings are the accumulated net income of a corporation after dividends.
The activists said, “The wealth of the top 30 groups increased twice as fast as the economy’s growth rate. It shows conglomerates, also known as ‘chaebol’ in Korean, are sucking the wealth out of the country.”
The activists’ tone stayed highly critical of conglomerates throughout the protest, with leaders saying at one point, “Retained earnings have been accumulated at the expense of workers and they don’t belong to chaebols.”