Mexico's minimum wage is to increase an additional 22 percent in 2022, its fourth increase since 2019. This is the result of a joint consensus between the federal government, unions and employers. Its impact, however, will likely go unperceived by laborers who are currently contending with the highest consumer prices since 2012.
“The [Business Coordinating Council] CCE and the organizations that make it up endorse their solidarity and commitment to improve the income of the workers who earn the least," the group said in a statement reporting the increase.
The authorized stimulus will raise Mexico’s federal minimum wage form MX$141.70 (US$6.66) to MX$172.87 (US$8.13), which will cover 74 percent of the family welfare line according to a bulletin by the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL). Only northern border states, which enjoy an elevated economic status, will see their minimum wages increase from a baseline of MX$213.39 (US$10.03) to MX$260.34 (US$12.24), equivalent to about 112 percent of the family welfare line.
The potential benefits this raise could generate could be dwarfed by a soaring inflation rate, which reached a new high of 7.05 percent in November as previously reported by MBN. This inflationary pressure combined with continued supply chain disruptions have pushed national consumer prices up an additional 0.69 percent compared to the previous fortnight. Northern states in particular have been hit the hardest, with greater consumer price variations between 1.43 percent and 4.15 percent. As the economy struggles with these economic conditions, it is unlikely that laborers will see a substantive impact from the increase.
“The increases to the minimum wage in the neoliberal period in 36 years were, if anything, inflation and in some years the increase in wages was below inflation, which is why the purchasing power of wages completely deteriorated,” said President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at press conference.
The issue also runs the risk of being further compounded with the arrival of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron, which according to early reporting by the WHO chief scientist appears to be quite infections and transmissible.