Venezuelan May day: a 30% salary increase.
Caracas, Venezuela, 1 May 2008. Last night and during a televised messaged, Venezuelan President Chavez decreed a salary increase of 30% for civil servants and minimum wage workers. This Increase ranks Venezuelan minimum wage workers as the first ones in Latin America followed by Argentina and Chile. From 1 May 2008, they would be getting a US$372 per month. The average minimum wage in Latin America is US$212 per month. Venezuelan Civil servants would also be getting their 30% increase monthly.
These wage increases have two motivations. First, the electoral motivation as local government elections are due by the end of this year. The Chavez administration is most interested in grasping power at current opposition local government offices. The continuation of the socialist project and extension of Chavez tenure in power depend on the outcome of the local elections. The second motivation is the fight against inflation. Venezuelans have been enduring an inflation rate of over 20% yearly. Such salary eroding rates and food scarcity have also motivated the government to both regulate some food prices and increase saving rates.
Today, 1 May 2008, the opposition and the government show their political might at Caracas. They both stage workers concentrations at Caracas downtown. Pro government workers will parade in support of the 30% salary increase. The opposition will march for the betterment of working conditions. They will also reject the government proposal for socialist education curricula at schools.