The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Porfirio Muñoz Ledo, promoted an initiative with a draft decree that aims to double the minimum wage in order to improve the distribution of wealth and reduce social gaps. The bill listed in the Parliamentary Gazette plans to reform Articles 90 and 94 of the Federal Labor Law, which based on the modifications proposed by the legislator would establish that “The minimum wage must be sufficient to satisfy the right to the minimum living wage of families in the material, social and cultural order, and to provide for the compulsory education of children.
Muñoz Ledo stated that although the minimum wage for 2019 was set at 102.68 pesos and in some municipalities of the border states at 176.72 – representing an increase of 16.2% and 100% respectively – this remuneration covers only the Income Poverty Line of the worker and not his family. The document states that according to the National Household Survey of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) in 2017 the average number of people residing in a household in Mexico is 3.6, of which two are suppliers and two economic dependents. In that sense, he explained that the second axis of the initiative consists in raising the minimum wage to at least twice the amount equivalent to the Urban Income Poverty Line (LPIU) established by the Coneval averaging the last three months prior to its fixation. Considering the figures presented during the months of September (3,019.67 pesos), October (3,027.29 pesos) and November (3,061.76 pesos) of 2018 -3,036.24 pesos on average-, the minimum wage would have reached at least the amount of 6,072.48 pesos per month (199.75 pesos per day) by 2019 throughout the country.
“With this measure it would be possible to fully comply with constitutional and conventional provisions, since in an average family of four members, the two economically active members would cover their individual needs, as well as those of those economically passive”, is indicated in the project.
It should be noted that according to Coneval, in the third quarter of 2018 39.3% of the Mexican population received a labour income below the Income Poverty Line. In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, more than 60% of the population receives an income below the Extreme Income Poverty Line; while in Guerrero, Morelos, San Luis Potosí, Nayarit, Sinaloa and Aguascalientes the rate of population suffering from this situation grew by around 3% between the second and third quarters of the year.
Morena’s deputy pointed out that the idea of establishing a minimum wage is one of the most important social conquests embodied in our fundamental norm of 1917, however, these provisions do not currently obey a character of protecting and procuring the economically weak against employers.
Unauthorized translation of the original article in Spanish, published on February 8, 2019, in the newspaper El Economista by Marisol Velázquez and Héctor Molina.