Minimum wage increased 31% to 4,760 pesos
According to the measure resolved today by union, government and business figures, who met for four and a half hours, the minimum wage will rise to 4,400 from September 1, with the second instalment beginning in January to complete the raise.
Speaking at the announcement of the rise, CFK sustained that the country would "bet heavily on the development of the internal market," adding that today's decision was the latest of a series of steps that had made the minimum wage "less minimum, more livable and more mobile."
"The industrial leaders have the capacity installed to produce more and if workers have greater purchasing power that is a good, helpful synergy," she underlined, pointing out that when Néstor Kirchner took over the presidency in 2003 the base salary was 200 pesos a month, and that in the intervening period it had risen 2,389 percent.
"What we must ask ourselves is what things have increased by that much in this time. So we can stop punishing ourselves. Electricity, gas, water, meat, milk, did it go up by that figure?! It did not," she fired.Cristina also signalled that the new raise once more positioned Argentina's minimum wage as the highest in Latin America and that, measured in dollars, Argentine workers could purchase much more than their counterparts in Brazil or Uruguay.
An Employment Observatory was also created by the Council, made up of six CGT officials and six business representatives. The Observatory's task will be to monitor the labour market at a time when Argentina is faced with a recession, with certain sectors suffering suspensions and lay-offs.The Council began today's planned meeting just after 5pm in the Labour Ministry, with the opening marked by a raucous demonstration outside the government offices.
Protesters outside the building were municipal workers who demanded the right to be included in the increase that is expected to be agreed in today's summit.
Among those present at the meeting were CGT Balcarce general secretary Antonio Caló, Hugo Yasky, who is the leader of the CTA faction allied with the government, and Argentine Industrial Union (UIA) vice-president Daniel Funes de Rioja.