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Pay gap? More like chasm

Pay gap between the rich and the poor keeps widening despite minimum wage increase
File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
27/11/2017
08:52
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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During the upcoming season of festivities – with dinners and family reunions –, the members of the Mexican bureaucracy will celebrate with their monthly wages, Christmas bonuses, and other benefits which are going to exceed the amount of MXN$800,000...while millions of people will receive the daily minimum wage and, if lucky, a Christmas bonus equal to a 15-day pay. Doing some math, we can see the income and benefits earned by the first group will be over 250 times more than those of the 7.3 million people who, according to the National Institute of Geography and Statistics (INEGI), earn the minimum wage in Mexico.

The problem itself is not the salaries of the public officials, it's that given the huge pay gap between their earnings and those of millions of Mexicans – half of them living under extreme conditions – the millions of pesos allocated to pay for the salaries and benefits of the privileged bureaucracy become insensitive, absurd, and inappropriate.

A few days ago, the opportunity to lessen the gap presented itself yet it wasn't taken. Last week, it was announced the daily minimum wage would increase by 3.9% starting December 1. However, according to the Expenditure Budget of the Federation, the wages of, say, the Senators for 2018 will be raised by 4.74%. The percentage is far greater for the already elevated salaries of the legislators than the one assigned to the minimum wage.

In real terms, the daily minimum wage will go from MXN$80.04 to MXN$88.36 – five Mexican pesos which correspond to the so-called Independent Recovery Amount, created on the face of the evident loss of purchasing power of Mexican currency.

The goal of increasing the daily minimum wage was proposed, at least, five years ago, together with the motion of no longer using it as a measure to fix fees or fines – a restraint on actual improvement. The goal still seems far away, for it is still below the well-being line of the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL).

The low salaries of Mexican workers have even been questioned during the renegotiation talks of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as it seen as an illegal “competitiveness instrument” against the wages of American and Canadian workers.

The process of strengthening wages is slow, however, this seems to matter little to the decision-makers. It shouldn't be surprising, therefore, that people's disenchantment with democracy keeps growing, that people are still tired of the political class, and that there've been rebukes against public figures taking place at public places,

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