Colombia’s unions disagree with the government’s 35 thousand peso
(US$17) raise of the country’s minimum wage. They say the government never wanted to
talk to the unions and faked a dialogue to charm U.S. congress.
Social Welfare Minister Diego Palacio said the raise, equal to 2008’s 7.7 percent inflation rate, is “fair and complies with all standards.” According to the Minister, the country can not afford a higher rais, because of the current global economic crisis. “We will see reduced exports to Venezuela, Spain and the United States and must be prepared for these possible scenarios,” he added.
The unions say the raise is unconstitutional, because the daily expenses of the country’s lower class have risen more than the official inflation rate. Because 2008 food and fuel prices soared, they say inflation for the poor has been much higher. According to Tarcisio Mora of workers union CUT, the current rise isn’t even a liter of milk a day.
According to the Liberal Party, part of Colombia’s opposition, the increase will generate a social crisis, because workers earning minimum wage will not be able to feed their families.
If the Constitutional Court agrees with the raise, Colombia’s minimum wage will be 496,600 pesos (US$240).