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Proposed labor secretary Alcalde. Proposed labor secretary Alcalde.

New labor secretary will push to raise minimum wage, doubling it in the north

The wage is currently seven pesos below the threshold set by the federal government for well-being

The new government’s nominee for labor and social welfare secretary has pledged that Mexico’s next government will work toward increasing the minimum wage, and even double it in the north of the country.

The current daily minimum wage is 88.36 pesos (US $4.72), seven pesos below the threshold set by the federal government for well-being.

Luisa María Alcalde told broadcaster Radio Fórmula yesterday that she will approach Mexico’s central bank to discuss the issue.

“The idea is to talk with the Bank of México, we have already been speaking with the business sector and with workers’ organizations. What is clear and what I can assure you is that we will push for an increase to the minimum wage, it will double in the north of the country,” she said.

“The idea is that gradually we’re going to rescue the minimum wage so that any woman or man who lives from their work can live with dignity,” Alcalde added.

She said that projects planned for the south and southeast of Mexico — such as the Cancún-Palenque train and the development of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec — will drive economic growth and enable the wage growth to occur.

Alcalde accused the current government of failing to adequately address the wage issue, which in turn has left workers facing wage stagnation.

Another supporter of an increase is a national business organization, establishing yet another piece of common ground with the left-leaning Morena party of incoming president Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The Mexican Employers’ Federation, or Coparmex, pushed hard in late 2017 for an increase in line with the well-being level set by Coneval, the social development agency, and it is doing so again now.

Coparmex head Gustavo de Hoyos said today he would like to see the wage raised to at least 100 pesos by the end of the year, observing that he had met with Alcalde and found there were commonalities regarding an increase in line with a level established by the United Nations.

He also said it was “one of those subjects in which we concur significantly with the new president” and hoped the agency that sets the wage would meet soon so as to finish the year with a wage possibly as high as 102 or 103 pesos.

Meanwhile, Alcalde also spoke yesterday regarding the plan to move the Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare to León, Guanajuato, one of several departmental moves planned by López Obrador.

She said there was no hurry nor a set timeline but didn’t rule out the possibility that the department might have shifted there by the start of next year.

Alcalde also said she was aware of the constraints raised earlier in the week by Guanajuato Governor Miguel Márquez, who warned that the state doesn’t have the necessary infrastructure to accommodate the move and resulting influx in population.

She said the incoming administration was aware of the limitations.

“Of course, we understand that there could be certain problems so the idea is that it [the move] is going to be gradual,” she said.

“I don’t think that there will be any problem and we’re going to convince [the governor] that, on the contrary, this is an idea that intends there be development in the whole country, so that not all the secretariats are centralized, which will help make growth more even across the nation’s territory,” Alcalde explained.

The 30-year-old law professor and former federal deputy has published several articles advocating for higher wages in Mexico.

The youngest member of López Obrador’s cabinet, she will be charged with introducing the apprenticeship scheme called “Youths building the future.”

Alcalde said the program will be central to the new government’s plan to provide employment opportunities to the nation’s young people.

López Obrador and his cabinet will be sworn in on December 1.

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

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