Spain to sanction largest minimum wage increase in 40 years Spain to sanction largest minimum wage increase in 40 years

Spain to sanction largest minimum wage increase in 40 years
19 Dec 2018

The Spanish Government is set to approve the country’s largest national minimum wage increase in more than 40 years this week, with the aim of easing tensions between Madrid and Barcelona.

Prime minister Pedro Sanchez will hold a cabinet meeting on Friday 21 December in the Catalan capital, at which the 22% minimum wage hike to €900 (US$1,017) per month is expected to be passed without controversy. It will then be authorised by royal decree without requiring the approval of Parliament, according to Al Jazeera.

The increase will move Spain’s legal minimum pay rate further ahead of its neighbour Portugal’s, which is around €795 (US$899) when adjusted for the cost of living. But Spain will remain some way short of the UK where the full-time monthly minimum is about €1,270 (US$1,435) on an adjusted basis. In Germany, it is €1,430 (US$1,616).

Economic concerns are at the heart of the dispute between Madrid and Catalan nationalists, who have complained for years that their region spends too much on having to support poorer parts of the country.

Catalonia contributes around one fifth of Spain’s total economic output, according to the Independent, and already has a high level of autonomy in areas such as education and health. It also has its own police force. The region unilaterally declared independence last year.

But Sanchez’s Government has warned that further action could be taken after local police failed to restore order during recent protests. In an address to the Spanish Parliament, the Prime Minister accused Catalan leaders of “inflammatory and unacceptable” rhetoric.

“The government will not accept any lapse in the functions of those entrusted with public order in Catalonia,” he said.

On the other hand, Madrid needs support from Catalan separatists to pass Spain’s 2019 Budget, and protests are likely to escalate in the coming weeks ahead of a trial early next year of the leaders of the independence movement.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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The Spanish Government is set to approve the country’s largest national minimum wage increase in more than 40 years this week, with the aim of easing tensions between Madrid and Barcelona.

Prime minister Pedro Sanchez will hold a cabinet meeting on Friday 21 December in the Catalan capital, at which the 22% minimum wage hike to €900 (US$1,017) per month is expected to be passed without controversy. It will then be authorised by royal decree without requiring the approval of Parliament, according to Al Jazeera.

The increase will move Spain’s legal minimum pay rate further ahead of its neighbour Portugal’s, which is around €795 (US$899) when adjusted for the cost of living. But Spain will remain some way short of the UK where the full-time monthly minimum is about €1,270 (US$1,435) on an adjusted basis. In Germany, it is €1,430 (US$1,616).

Economic concerns are at the heart of the dispute between Madrid and Catalan nationalists, who have complained for years that their region spends too much on having to support poorer parts of the country.

Catalonia contributes around one fifth of Spain’s total economic output, according to the Independent, and already has a high level of autonomy in areas such as education and health. It also has its own police force. The region unilaterally declared independence last year.

But Sanchez’s Government has warned that further action could be taken after local police failed to restore order during recent protests. In an address to the Spanish Parliament, the Prime Minister accused Catalan leaders of “inflammatory and unacceptable” rhetoric.

“The government will not accept any lapse in the functions of those entrusted with public order in Catalonia,” he said.

On the other hand, Madrid needs support from Catalan separatists to pass Spain’s 2019 Budget, and protests are likely to escalate in the coming weeks ahead of a trial early next year of the leaders of the independence movement.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

OTHER ARTICLES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

Head of Spain's Central Bank: Minimum wage hike will lead to youth unemployment

Spain: A mixed bag of opportunities

Spanish pensioners protest over below-inflation benefit increases

 

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