Mexico’s minimum wage up for proposed increase

The Mexican federal government is under pressure to increase the country’s minimum wage. As it stands now, the minimum wage in Mexico City is 67 peso per day – hardly enough to buy a day’s worth of food. However, purposed changes would see the city’s mayor, Miguel Angel Mancera, lift the federal wage to 82.86 per day for 2015; an increase of 23 percent.

The idea of increasing the federal wage limit has seen as much opposition as it has support. While Leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution and the conservative National Action Party (PAN) support Mr. Mancera’s proposal, other political leaders and Mexican businesses are left in strong debate.

Critics of the proposal include numerous central banks and business groups who say that increasing the federal minimum wage will lead to higher inflation, worker layoffs and a loss of competitiveness against manufacturing rivals such as China. Although critic concerns have been duly noted, Mr. Mancera is in the works sending a bill to Congress to dissociate the proposed minimum wage increase from scholarships, fines, public housing mortgages and other regulated prices.

For many, increasing the federal minimum wage is a critical point to avoiding unwanted impacts on the economy. The minimum wage has been used for decades as an index to calculate annual increases. According to the National Statistics Agency, 13 percent of the working population or 6.5 million people in the country earn minimum wage.

Among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Mexico has the lowest per hour minimum wage, averaging 5,400 peso per month. Mexico is the only country in Latin America that continues to support a minimum wage under the poverty line. The idea of increasing the country’s minimum wage has not hit discussion tables since 1976.

President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government, which determines the minimum wage every year through a commission, has said it would consider the measures.

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