10/01/2011NEWS IN ENGLISH – Congress leans towards a higher minimum wage
Marcos Chagas Reporter Agência Brasil
Brasília – The government’s own leader in the Chamber of Deputies, Candido Vaccarezza (PT-SP), put it this way: “The ideal is for political parties to put aside political disputes and make a technical examination of the minimum wage (“salario minimo – SM”)) question; that is, see it as part of the country’s development policy.”
According to Vaccarezza, if such an examination does take place it will inevitably delay approval of the SM bill (which, in reality, is in the form of a presidential temporary decree – “medida provisória” that requires congressional approval) until sometime in March.
Meanwhile, deputy Paulo Paim (PT-RS), whose political career has been based on his constant support for a SM that always rises above inflation, says that a consensus on the exact amount will only be reached through understanding and dialogue with other political parties. Paim goes on to say that a SM of R$540 is actually unconstitutional as it does not include 2010 inflation. Paim says the minimum wage should be at least R$550. He adds that he is willing to negotiate in exchange for modifications in retirement age limits.
At the same time, the PMDB, the PT’s biggest partner in the new administration, has toned down its discussion of the SM because of the way the media has connected it with a dispute for jobs and posts in the second echelon of the government. Spokespersons for the PMDB, along with Paim, see the R$540 SM as dead in the water. They point out that as a result of lengthy debate, Congress ruled that the SM must not only cover losses due to inflation, but recuperate purchasing power for low-income workers.
The leader of the PDT, former union leader, Paulinho da Força, says his party will insist on a 2011 SM of R$580.
The president of the PP, Francisco Dornelles (RJ) says his party is still analyzing the bill and the possibility of increasing the SM above the government’s proposed R$540. “The SM has a major impact on the outlays in the social security system and at the municipal level. We need a careful technical analysis of the consequences of a new SM,” he declared.
As for the opposition, the PSDB has not made any position public. However, it should be recalled that in the presidential campaign, the PSDB candidate, José Serra, called for a SM of R$600.
Allen Bennett – translator/editor The News in English
Link – Revisão de reajuste do mínimo é praticamente consenso no Congresso