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October 23, 2014
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Workers receive wage hikes of up to 37%

Bank clerks are seen staging a protest against the income tax in Tucumán province earlier this year.

Chemical, confectionery sectors top Labour Ministry ranking unveiled yesterday

The national government yesterday unveiled the results of collective wage bargaining for the first half of the year, stressing the fact that salaries have risen by up to 37 percent “amid a difficult context marred by economic troubles.”

Chemical workers top the ranking after signing a 37-percent annual increase, while confectionery workers were second after seeing 35 percent hikes — both deals signed during the first part of the year.

Health workers received an average raise of 34 percent and ended up third in the list, according to Labour Minister Carlos Tomada.

The department analyzed 19 wage negotiations and concluded that most pay rises for 2014 so far have been between 27 and 31 percent.

A dozen of the total 19 deals analyzed included hikes of similar percentages, while only a third of those agreed to raises higher than 31 percent, Tomada’s department explained in a press release.

“Overall, collective agreements set a mean increase of 29.7 percent.

The Labour Ministry considered not only hikes in basic salaries but also extra sums agreed to between workers and employers. Several workers accepted that hikes may be paid in up to four installments, some of them becoming effective during the first quarter of 2015.

In 17 of those cases, unions and companies agreed to distribute wage rises in between two and four installments “in order to cushion the impact of labour costs” — the first being the highest increment.

Meanwhile, private estimates say inflation for the last 12 months has clocked in at around 37 to39 percent.

minimum wages

According to the eight-page report published yesterday, the mean wage of the 19 activities analyzed by the Labour Ministry is 8,197 pesos (US$1,002).

The lowest salaries are found in the National Public Administration (6,211 pesos), while bank clerks enjoy the highest wages — an average 11,549 pesos, according to official sources.

Other sectors with a minimum wage of over 9,000 pesos a month are retail workers, chemical workers and bus-drivers.

“Despite the dramatic scenarios broadcast by media outlets, in 2014 collective bargaining has shown its capacity to articulate, for the 10th consecutive year, the interests of workers and companies, in a context of dialogue,” the Labour Ministry said in a press release.

Without mentioning inflation directly, the department headed by Tomada said the hikes granted seek a “balance” between the need of workers to maintain their purchasing-power and the need for firms to continue being economically sustainable.

“This scenario rejects the catastrophic forecasts made by some sectors that said the national government would set a ceiling for wage negotiations or that collective bargaining would fail after huge hikes and a massive extension of labour conflicts,” the Ministry concluded.

Wage increases by activity

Chemical: 37%
Confectioners: 35%
Health (doctors, nurses): 34%
Textile: 31%
Bus drivers: 31%
Construction: 29%
State: 28%
Retail: 27%

Mean salary by activity

Banking: 11,549 pesos
Metal: 6,400 pesos
State: 6,211 pesos

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