North Korea workers told to start work at 5am because of extreme heat

Former leader Kim Jong-il began the 'Sambok schedule' at the turn of the century

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The Independent Online

North Korea workers have been told to start work at 5am because of the extreme heat afflicting the country.

The "sambok schedule" has been implemented for those who work at state agencies, factories and schools.

Sambok, which began on 20 July, is the peak of the Korean summer - the temperature in Pyongyang today could reach 27C and the humidity 82 per cent.

A source in North Korea’s South Pyongan Province told Daily NK the heat made it a “struggle” to work indoors and outdoors, particularly in Pyongyang and inland areas in the western and northern parts of the country.

As a result, “all central agencies in Pyongyang and other offices and schools nationwide have been ordered to follow the 'sambok schedule'," said the source.


“Because of this, all operations now start at 5am instead of the usual 8am and end at 1pm”.

But the early start was exhausting the people. The source said: “People say there’s no real point in going to work early since there’s not only no electricity but not enough work to go around; all this [directive] does make everyone more exhausted."

“Even young children need to start getting ready for school around 4am. Many are unable to get up so they end up skipping one or two hours of class, pulling down the attendance rate at certain times half or more."

The schedule also meant state-owned restaurants only stayed open until lunchtime. “State officials who are on business trips to different area complain since they don’t have anywhere to dine in the evening," said the source.

She added that residents dismissed the schedule as leader Kim Jong-un showing his love for the people, Daily NK reported.

The early working hours were first implemented by former leader Kim Jong-il at the turn of the century.