Colombia labor union demands 9% minimum wage hike

One of Colombia’s largest labor unions demanded a 9% increase in minimum wage on Sunday ahead of annual negotiations with employers that haven’t led to consensus in years.

The labor unions and employers associations will begin talks about the annual wage hike on Monday. If talks prove fruitless, the government will determine the increase as it has in previous years.

The General Workers Federation (CGT) announced Sunday it would seek a minimum wage of 804,111 pesos ($268) against the COP737,717 ($246) decreed for this year.

The Unitarian Workers Center (CUT) has yet to formulate its demands for next year.

Business association ANDI did not immediately respond to the CGT’s demand.

Central Bank director Juan Jose Echavarria told media that his entity expects a minimum wage hike of between 6% and 7%, three percentage points higher than this year’s inflation rate.

According to financial magazine Dinero, Echavarria did not expect employers to agree to a wage hike that would increase minimum wage workers’ spending power.

The central bank director urged both employers and employees to increase productivity before increasing the price of labor.

The negotiations that take place under supervision of the Labor Ministry in December every year are not expected to result in an agreement.

If the talks remain inconclusive by December 31, the government can decree a minimum wage increase.

Colombia’s minimum wage is more than six times as low as the United States’ federal minimum wage and almost seven times as low as the United Kingdom’s minimum wage.

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