State Government Starts Reforms to Boost Minimum Wage

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Locally, there are 54 laws that need to be reformed to guarantee workers a better wage


During a session of the Productivity Commission held last week in La Paz, Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare, José Luis Pérpulli Drew expressed the need for local Congress to carry out adjustments to the state’s legal framework to ensure a minimum wage that covers the reality of the worker.

Mexico’s minimum wage is set by the Minimum Wage Commission, which is formed by government, business and labor representatives. The commission meets each year to determine the increase in the minimum wage, which is used as a benchmark for contract negotiations in the private and public sectors.

In December of 2014, the commission determined to raise the country’s daily minimum wage by 4.2%—in line with current inflation—to about 70 pesos a day, less than $5 at current exchange rates.

The minimum wage in recent years has been set with the rate of inflation. However, there have been several vocal critics, including Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera, who believe it is now necessary to raise the minimum much higher than the rate of inflation.

A need for a bigger boost is necessary many claim, because the minimum wage has lost more than two-thirds of its purchasing power in past decades and is inadequate to cover most basic needs for workers.

However, to raise the wage high above the rate of inflation, which currently stands at 4.2% and is expected to slow to 3% next year, it would be necessary to change laws to unlink the wage from a number of payments, including traffic fines and government fees, that are set in multiples of the daily minimum.

Pérpulli Drew said in Baja California Sur, 54 laws and regulations would need to be looked at and untied to the minimum wage before increases well over the rate of inflation could take place.

The Productivity Commission is composed of representatives of higher education institutions, business organizations, labor unions, productive sectors and representatives of the five municipalities.

The intention of this latest session was also used to propose, based on scientific research, what is the ideal minimum wage and how will it be paid. “Someone has to pay; it is why we are looking for business incentives and of course workers to be more competitive,” Pérpulli Drew said.

In Baja California Sur, the minimum wage is 70 pesos with 10 cents, definitely not enough to cover the basic needs of a family. There are currently 31,000 workers receiving the minimum in BCS.

In the country, an estimated 6.5 million Mexicans, or 13% of the workforce, earn the minimum, according to the government statistics agency.

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