Bolivia to Raise Minimum Wage by 15%


President Evo Morales agreed to raise the country's national minimum after negotiations with the largest trade union.

[Updated] The Bolivian government has agreed to increase the federal minimum wage by 15 percent, a measure that will take effect May 1.

Bolivian President Evo Morales made the announcement following lengthy negotiations between government officials and representatives from Bolivia's largest trade union (COB).

"I commend the agreement between the government and COB, we have agreed to increase the general salary by 8.5 percent and also increase the national minimum wage by 15 percent," Morales stated in a press conference following the meeting.

The minimum wage will be increased from US$208 to US$239.

The COB's leader Juan Carlos Trujillo also confirmed the agreement stating, "the COB, along with the participation of the labor representatives, has arrived at an agreement with the government."

During his comments, President Morales stated that the national minimum wage "will always be linked to a combination of factors including labor, investment and this year's concern as to how to invest in the midst of decling oil prices."

From 2005-2013 Bolivia has achieved an increase in real minimum wage of 104 percent, higher than any other Latin American country, according to the International Labor Organization.

The announcement coincides with ongoing negotiations between the Bolivian government and members of Bolivian trade union organizations over the details of a legislative labor reform proposal which is is expected to be finalized in the coming months.

Since 2005, the Bolivian government has made considerable progress in terms of improving labor legislation, including:

• Prohibiting unlawful firings
• Legalizing strikes
• Forbidding employers to fire women with children under one year old
• Allowing women to have paid time off work to go the gynecologist
• Providing three months of paid benefits after a worker is fired or resigns