Mexico’s minimum wage will increase by 20% next year thanks to an agreement struck by the federal government with employers’ associations and unions.
The minimum daily wage across most of the country will increase to 207.44 pesos (about US $10.80) on Jan. 1, up from 172.87 pesos in 2022.
In the Northern Border Free Zone — made up of 43 municipalities on the Mexico-U.S. border — workers will receive at least 312.41 pesos (US $16.30) per day starting Jan. 1, a 20% increase from the prevailing minimum of 260.34 pesos.
Workers on the minimum wage in most parts of the country will receive an additional 1,052 pesos per month, while those in the northern border region will get an extra 1,584 pesos.
Announcing the 20% increase at his regular news conference on Thursday, President López Obrador said that the raise is “very important because we’re facing inflation of an international character.”
Annual headline inflation was 8.14% in Mexico in the first half of November, while core inflation was an even higher 8.66%.
López Obrador acknowledged that there is “some concern” in the business community that the minimum wage increase will fuel inflation, but said his government doesn’t see that happening.
The president of the National Minimum Wage Commission (Conasami) also asserted that the increase won’t drive inflation up. “Conasami studies project negligible impact on inflation,” Luis Munguía said on Twitter.
Labor Minister Luisa María Alcalde highlighted that 6.4 million workers will directly benefit from the wage increase. She also said that Mexico will have the 50th highest minimum wage in the world in 2023, at US $321.80 per month.
Alcalde presented data that showed that Mexico had the 81st highest minimum salary among 135 countries in 2020, but it improved to 73rd in 2021 and 60th this year.
She said that workers’ purchasing power will increase on Jan. 1 and asserted that will add “dynamism to the local economy” and Mexico’s “internal market.”
The increase won’t just help workers but their families as well, the labor minister added.
Labor sector representative José Luis Carazo said that the increase of the minimum wage to above 200 pesos per day represents “justice for workers in Mexico,” while business sector spokesman Lorenzo de Jesús Roel said that the raise could have been even higher had inflation not been a problem.
López Obrador, who styles himself as a champion of Mexico’s most vulnerable people, has made lifting the minimum wage a priority of his government. It was just 88 pesos when he took office in 2018, but the president wants a daily minimum wage of at least 260 pesos (US $13.60) when he leaves the nation’s top job in 2024.
With reports from El País