Workers and businesses fail to reach consensus on 2014 minimum wage increase

Negotiators representing Colombia’s businesses and workers failed to reach a consensus at a meeting Monday over the minimum wage increase for 2014.

While the business lobby increased their offer slightly from a proposed 3.8% to a 4% raise, workers’ unions remained set on their call for a 6% raise.

“The business lobby will not renegotiate the increase of the minimum wage,” said president of the Trade Board and Agricultural Society of Colombia Rafeal Mejia.

According to economic magazine Portafolio, workers remained confident that the business lobby would reconsider their offer by Wednesday’s next meeting.

The business lobby said  they were “leaving the ball in the court” of the government and worker’s unions to analyze their proposal.

If business lobbyist and workers’ unions fail to reach a consensus at next Wednesday’s meeting, the decision will be made by the government’s Ministry of Labor before December 31, 2013.

According to government statistics, there in 2013 there were 1.3 million minimum wage workers in Colombia earning $305.47 per month, or $3,665 per year.

MORE: Debate opens over Colombia’s 2014 minimum wage

According to government statistics, 54% of workers in Colombia earn the minimum wage or less. Furthermore, a total of 3.4 million workers do not earn even one half of the country’s minimum wage.

In Colombia, much of the country’s economic activity exists outside the government-regulated economy, allowing employers to pay workers salaries less than the legal minimum wage.


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