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N. Koreans fork out bribes to get jobs at food processing factories

As more North Koreans seek jobs at food processing plants, where food rations and wages are guaranteed, the cost of bribes for those jobs is rising, Daily NK has learned.

“Amid a boom in production at food processing factories, jobs at the factories are becoming increasingly popular and corruption in job placement is worsening,” a source in Pyongyang told Daily NK on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

According to the source, production at the Kumsong Food Processing Plant in Pyongyang’s Mangyongdae District has recovered from a slump during the pandemic, and positions at the plant are now one of the most sought-after jobs among North Koreans. The main reason is that the factory workers have a steady supply of food.

The number of people hoping to work at food processing plants has increased as North Korean authorities call for increased food production to improve the quality of life for the population, and as working conditions at the plants improve as part of the effort to increase production.

“The Kumsong Food Processing Plant provides monthly rations of wheat and rice calculated for the size of the family, as well as side dishes during national holidays and the year-end review. Since all workers at the plant are guaranteed a monthly wage of KWP 300,000 to 400,000, as well as good benefits, everyone wants a job at the plant,” the source said.

Bribes grease the wheels for recruitment into the factory

North Korean workers do not have the freedom to choose their own jobs, and positions and roles are generally assigned by the government. But it is very common for people to pay bribes and pull strings to get their preferred job.

As benefits have recently improved at food processing plants in general, people are vying for the chance to bribe their way into the Kumsong Food Processing Plant, the source said.

“Employees in the labor department at the Kumsong Food Processing Plant [which hires ordinary workers without college degrees] are blatantly squeezing would-be workers for money. Before the pandemic, the bribe for a job here was around USD 50, but now you can’t get in without handing over USD 150 – 200,” the source said.

“Not only the regular labor department, but also the department in charge of hiring managers [with college degrees] is making money hand over fist. Anyone who wants to become a manager in the factory these days is expected to fork over USD 500 to the management recruitment department.”

Daily NK works with a network of sources living in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous for security reasons. For more information about Daily NK’s network of reporting partners and information-gathering activities, please visit our FAQ page here.

Please send any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

Read in Korean

June 27, 2024 at 12:30PM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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