06/01/2011NEWS IN ENGLISH – Garibaldi says more discussion on minimum wage is needed
Marcos Chagas Reporter Agência Brasil
Brasília – At the end of December, the Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva administration issued a presidential temporary decree (“medida provisoria”) setting the minimum wage for 2011 at R$540. The amount, an increase of 5.88%, covers losses due to inflation, but, for the first time in the Lula era, does not include a real gain). The medida provisoria will face a vote in Congress when the next legislative session begins in February.
The PMDB leadership is saying it believes the minimum wage could be higher, which is a veiled threat to raise it above R$540 when it goes to a vote. Discontent with the minimum wage is perennial among many politicians in Congress (who just raised their own salaries over 60%).
In Brazil, almost all social security benefits and pensions, along with some other prices and even salaries, are linked to the minimum wage and any increase has an enormous impact on the social security system deficit (it is estimated that each additional real added to the minimum wage increases costs at Social Security by around R$280 million annually), not to mention the effect on state and municipal budgets.
Since taking office, the new government has refused to discuss the minimum wage as it has gone about the business of distributing jobs to its allies. The PMDB wants to discuss the minimum wage as it denies problems with the distribution of jobs.
As a result, the minister of Social Security (and member of the PMDB who was reelected senator) Garibaldi Alves Filho (RN), has volunteered to act as a moderator in discussions between the leaders of the PMDB and the executive branch regarding the new minimum wage.
Garibaldi, wearing two hats (minister in the executive branch and PMDB senator), declared that the government and the legislature should “sit down around the negotiating table” to find a solution. “Obviously, we want the best for the Brazilian worker,” he declared, adding: “Unfortunately, with regard to the minimum wage, the amount cannot go much higher than R$540.” The minister of Social Security knows what he is talking about.
Allen Bennett – translator/editor The News in English – content modified
Link – Garibaldi diz que governo e legislativo precisam “sentar-se à mesa” para definir mínimo