Maduro Announces 2016's Third Minimum Wage Increase

President Nicolás Maduro has announced a 50 percent wage increase set to take effect in September.

By Jeanette Charles
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Nicolás Maduro made the wage increase announcement to the Venezuelan people on live television and radio Friday.  (Reuters)
Nicolás Maduro made the wage increase announcement to the Venezuelan people on live television and radio Friday. (Reuters)

Los Angeles, California, August 3rd 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro confirmed a 50 percent wage increase Friday that will begin September 1, 2016. Cestaticket, or the food bonus program accompanying Venezuelan salaries, will increase by 128.5 percent with a start date of August 1, 2016.

“Product of this year’s consultations with the labor movement and working class, I have decided to increase the minimum wage of all workers nationally and the Armed Bolivarian National Forces (FANB),” Maduro explained live on national television and radio. Those receiving pensions will also benefit from the wage increase.

Currently, minimum wage in Venezuela is 15,051 bolivares, the equivalent of $USD 23.40 with a food bonus equivalent of 18.585 bolivares or, $USD28.90. The amounts will increase to 22,576 bolivares ($USD 35.11) and 42,480 bolivares ($USD 66,06) respectively.

Monthly minimum wage increase will total 65,056 bolivares or $USD 101.17 from the previous amount of 33,636 bolivares or $USD 52.31.

Vicepresident of Planning Ricardo Menéndez explained during a press conferene in Caracas on Saturday that the wage increase's purpose seeks to directly "take on headfirst the inflation and speculation of prices."

Maduro emphasized, “The idea is to protect those whom we must protect, we need to produce more to recuperate from oil, we must strengthen the CLAPs [national food distribution program]...and decelerate the economic war induced inflation against Venezuela.”

He continued, “[these measures are meant to] protect a people submitted to an economic war carried out by the bourgeoisie and imperialism that believes it can force our people to kneel down to.”

This is the third wage increase that the Venezuelan government has authorized this year. The first wage increase took place in February with a 20 percent increase. April 30th marked the second with a 30 percent increase. During his announcement, Maduro did not rule out the possibility of another wage increase this December.

Menéndez also reiterated that adjusting the minimum wage is nothing new to the Venezuelan economy. In the last 17 years, the Bolivarian government has increased wages 34 times. Maduro's administration is responsible for overseeing 13 in the last three years. 

During Venezuela's Fourth Republic, there were only 9 wage increases despite economic policies that devastated the majority of the population, emphasized Menéndez.