González, head of the minimum wage commission. González, head of the minimum wage commission.

Minimum wage hike seen as insufficient

It will go up seven pesos, nearly 10%, to the equivalent of almost US $4

The minimum wage will rise nearly 10% in January, a significantly higher increase than others in recent years but not enough in the eyes of many observers.

The National Minimum Wage Commission, Conasami, announced a hike of seven pesos, bumping the minimum daily wage to 80.04 pesos, just under US $4, effective January 1.

The new rate is still below the 89.35 pesos per day established in October by Coneval, the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy, as the minimum required to purchase a basic basket of goods necessary for a person’s well-being.

The non-governmental organization Citizen Action Against Poverty saw the increase as “good news, because it is an economic policy geared towards abating poverty.”

But spokesman Rogelio Gómez said it was still insufficient.

A network of 60 organizations that make up the NGO had been proposing for months that the minimum be increased to 100 pesos.

“There are 3.5 million workers who are paid the minimum wage, most of them informally employed. [A 100-peso wage] can benefit, in one or two years, 10 million workers,” said Gómez, who was confident that by 2018 the minimum wage would reach 89 pesos.

The mayor of Mexico City said much the same thing about the hike, saying via his Twitter account that it represented progress, but was still insufficient.

“We hope that the proposal by Coparmex [the Mexican Employers Federation] and [the government of Mexico City] is reexamined so we can have a minimum wage of 89.35 pesos,” said Miguel Ángel Mancera in a second tweet.

Coparmex proposed a week ago that the wage be bumped 22% to the 89.35-peso level by the end of next year.

The mayor has been a proponent of a substantial increase to the minimum wage for years.

Mancera’s Economic Development Secretary saw the change as a step in the right direction.

Amid the discussion of just how much more the workers of Mexico should earn per day, it was revealed that Conasami chief Basilio González has a monthly salary of 17,409 pesos.

But on top of that, his performance as the head of the minimum wage authority has earned him a monthly bonus of 156,000 pesos since 2013. His total salary comes to just over 173,000 pesos, or close to US $8,400, per month.

González said salaries are set “within the legal framework of what is established in the General Labor Law.”

Regarding the minimum wage increase, he said “the Constitution does not mandate that the minimum wage be equivalent to the expectations set by Coneval.”

Nonetheless, he said it was regrettable that the minimum wage lies below what the country needs.

Source: Milenio (sp), El Universal (sp)

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