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viernes, abril 29, 2005

Venezuela minimum wage to rise by 26% on Mayday

On Wednesday, Chavez announced an increase in the minimum wage, to take effect the first of May. The minimum monthly salary will rise by 26% to Bs 405,000 (a bit less than US$200), helping salaries to catch up to inflation. Retirees will receive a similar pension increase, and the minimum for small businesses (less than 20 workers) will be Bs. 371.232.

UNT union confederation leaders Marcos Garcia and Francisco Torrealba commended the increase, calling it favorable both in its amount and in the new parity between urban and rural workers. Torrealba and the UNT had been advocating for a somewhat higher increase of 30%. Garcia emphasized that the government still needs to negotiate an open contract with a group of public sector workers, who, he said, should receive a salary increase of their own.

Meanwhile, the CTV union confederation blasted the increase as being insufficient, saying that not only should the minimum wage be higher, but all salaries should be indexed to inflation.

I'm not sure they're serious about the latter suggestion; they might be making it only in order to try to demonstrate that they are not, in fact, in bed with national chamber of commerce FEDECAMERAS, which has soundly rejected the idea of a mandated general salary increase.

Employer organizations complained that they had not been consulted in the decision.

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