SPAIN’S Socialist-led Cabinet gave the green light on Tuesday to a 5% increase in the country’s minimum wage for 2024, increasing it from €1,080 a month paid in 14 payments to €1,134. The rise is retroactive, and will be in effect from January 1 of this current year.

“Today Spain is a better country,” said Yolanda Diaz, who is the Labour Minister, one of Spain’s deputy prime ministers, and the leader of the leftist Sumar alliance, which is the junior partner in the coalition government. 

Diaz called, however, for further rises in salaries in Spain in order to close the gap between the average pay here and in other European countries. 

“Spain currently has a 19-point distance from the average European salaries,” she said after the weekly Cabinet meeting, in comments reported by the Europa Press news agency. “This means to say that we have to make a collective effort as a country to keep increasing the salaries in our country, not just the minimum wage, but also the salaries of all the working peoples in Spain.”

Yolanda Diaz Participates In A Rally In Malaga, Spain 22 May 2023
Spain’s Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz in a file photo. (Credit Image: © Jesus Merida/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire)

The rise in the minimum wage – known in Spanish as the salario mínimo interprofesional (SMI) – will benefit more than 2.5 million people, which is the equivalent of one in every seven wage-earners. Of these, a third are women and young people. 

According to data cited by Diaz’s Labour Ministry, the SMI has increased by 54% since the Socialist-led government began to introduce rises. This, the ministry stated, has contributed to a fall in wage poverty of 25%. 

This latest rise in the SMI was agreed in mid-January between the Labour Ministry and Spain’s biggest unions, CCOO and UGT. The main business associations CEOE and Cepyme did not, however, back it, on the basis they wanted the SMI to be indexed to public contracts, among other demands.

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