Devaluation in Venezuela by Nicolás Maduro: the minimum wage is only $5.31

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The minimum wage in Venezuela, which went from 7 bolívares ($1.60) to 130 bolívares ($29.68) for one year, it has since fallen 82% in its US currency equivalent – reference in the country for fixing prices – up to 5.31 dollars, as a result of the devaluation of the local currency.

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Above all, the drop in wages is striking, in a country where almost everything – even petrol – is paid for in dollars civil servants and retirees -who receive the equivalent of a minimum wage a month-, who have staged more than 1,500 protests since January, according to an NGO, to demand an increase in their income.

Although Venezuelan law states that the salary must cover basic household needs, a family of five You need at least $482.26 per month for their food expenses, according to the Documentation and Social Analysis Center of the Venezuelan Federation of Teachers (Cendas-FVM), a reference due to the lack of official figures.

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The economist and university professor Leonardo Vera told EFE that the last year has meant, “especially for public sector employees and for a large mass of retirees and retirees”, that in Venezuela “add more than 5 million people”a “very significant deterioration in the purchasing power of their income and their living conditions”.

A public transport operator shows a wad of bolivars in Caracas (Venezuela).  Photo EFE

A public transport operator shows a wad of bolivars in Caracas (Venezuela). Photo EFE

In the private sector, on the other hand, where “wage adjustments are more flexible”, we have seen “in the last two years, an improvement in wages also in dollars”.

According to a recent study prepared by the Venezuelan Confederation of Industrialists (Conindustria), the average salary of a worker in the manufacturing sector went from $130 to $170 between the first and fourth quarters of last year, which represents a 30% increase.

On the other hand, “the reality in the official sector”, which also includes “the education sector, the health sector and the Armed Forces”, is that the “salary has not been adjusted (…) for a year”, in a country where”inflation is still hovering around 300-400% year-on-year.”

part of a strategy

In Venezuela, wage adjustments were very frequent until 2018, the year in which six increases were decreed, adding “no less than 47” since the arrival of the so-called Bolivarian revolution, in 1999, until then.

But since 2019, Vera explained, the Government has been implementing an “anti-inflation program” with various measures, among them “repress the salarythat is, to avoid wage adjustments as they were happening”.

An informal stand of food and basic products in Caracas (Venezuela).  Photo EFE

An informal stand of food and basic products in Caracas (Venezuela). Photo EFE

“In Venezuela, for several years, wage adjustments have been taking place every six months, even quarterly, (…) but they have tried to space out the wage adjustment period,” he said.

They also consist of other measures that make up this official “no warning” strategy. stop the increase in the official price of the dollarto avoid the tightening of product prices and the contraction of credit, which is scarce in the country.

According to Vera, it would be appropriate to establish a “progressive adjustment plan” to prove that, over time, the salary “may approach that food basket” close to $500.

Even if, in this context of continuous devaluations and high inflation, the ideal would be “to mark the minimum wage in any other currency (…) to try to protect purchasing power”.

The Government, for its part, insists that international sanctions imposed on the country – especially by the United States – have affected its ability to pay better wages and guarantee workers’ rights.

The Minister of Labour, Francisco Torrealba, recently stated, in the presentation of a report to the International Labor Organization (ILO), that Venezuela is a “besieged country with 923 unilateral coercive measures”Therefore, collaborate with the Venezuelan Anti-Block Observatory to find out its impact and incidence on the minimum wage.

Source: Clarin

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