Argentina: Kirchner ups minimum wage
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Argentina: Kirchner ups minimum wage

Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has approved an increase in the country’s monthly minimum wage to 6,060 pesos (approximately $662), a 28.5 percent increase for workers in employment during eight hours per day.

“Tomorrow Argentines will wake up and see that government worked in their favor, that we passed a 28.5 percent minimum wage increase, raising the salary from 200 pesos from what it was in 2003, across the sliding wage scale, to 6,060 pesos,” Kirchner said on Tuesday evening, according to Sputnik news.

The change will be phased into the economy in two instalments: the first, an 18.5 percent increase is scheduled for next month, raising the wage to 5,588 pesos. The final full instalment will come into effect from January 1 2016.

Kirchner had previously commented that “Argentine workers have the best salary in the (South American) region.”

Yet the proposed new wage total has not been well received by the country’s General Confederation of Labor (CGT) head, Antonio Caló.

Not enough to live on…

“It’s a welcome step. We’ve been discussing it for 11 years. Up until 2003 it was set at 200 pesos, until Néstor Kirchner (became President),” Caló commented.

Before adding “To live decently, you need above 8,500 pesos.”

Minimum wage increments will not benefit workers outside of unions, blackmarket workers or those working in small businesses.

Still, Work Minister Carlos Tomada has backed the increase, set to “act as a base,” for Argentine private-sector workers.

The country’s Ministry of Labour tweeted the news:

“Argentina didn’t have a minimum wage and part of our politics was to update the minimum wage in addition to starting labor discussions.” Tomada added.

The country’s minimum wage has been discussed since Néstor Kirchner came into power in 2003, opening debate on the country’s minimum living wage.

Argentina 2o02 economic crisis shook both banks and workers alike, with millions losing their savings following the banking system crumbling under inflation and the end of the peso’s fixed exchange rate against the US dollar.

Regional rating

Argentina’s new 2016 $662 monthly wage will top those on offer in other countries across Latin America. Chile is at $370, with Uruguay at approximately $363 and Brazil at $271.

According to the International Labour Organization, Panama currently tops the 2015 minimum wage charts across Latin America at $565.1 per month.

Economic growth of approximately 60 percent between 2007-2015 has seen Panama’s minimum wage rocket from $265 in 2007.

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