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New minimum wage increase does not cover basic needs

Cancun, Q.R. – Businesses in the state of Quintana Roo are hit with a mandatory wage increase as government officials set the minimum wage to 70.10 peso per day starting October 1.

Some unofficial public statistics report that in Playa del Carmen, the minimum amount needed per day for basic food and transportation is around $125 peso, far below the newly increased minimum wage of 70.10 peso.

Many local workers earning the minimum wage salary say it is insufficient and does not cover their basic needs, leaving them feeling undignified.

There is a perception that in the tourism sector, it’s acceptable to pay workers a minimum wage while the economic gap is filled by gratuities.

Jesus Tadeo Vega, a chef at one of the local hotels, says, “In high season there is not much tip and only the normal salary (…) the truth right now is that we’re only taking like 30 pesos a day for tips. Everything is very low.”

One man said that the local companies, “…charge us as if we are also tourists. With this low pay, a family does not have enough money to provide any kind of education for their children, which creates other problems.”

According to the local union CROC, there’s about 42,000 workers in Benito Juarez who earn minimum wage, while statistics from the Mexican Minimum Wage Commission report an estimated 6.5 million Mexicans live off 70.10 peso per day or less.

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