By Rodrigo Zeidan, Fundação Dom Cabral
The debate over the minimum wage in the US is an interesting one. Wages have been falling in real terms for the last 30 years but there is strong resistance to any kind of increase in the federal minimum wage. The social contract in the US calls for a flexible labour market, and market efficiency trumps equality considerations. Not even Nobel Laureates can influence the debate. But there are lessons to be learned from the strong real growth minimum wage policies in two of the Bric countries, Brazil and China. Read more
It’s been a messy fight with violent protests and hostile exchanges between the parties. Monday’s announcement of a farmworkers wage hike may cool some temperatures for now, but the battle is far from over.
Labour minister Mildred Oliphant said the new minimum wage level will increase to R105 per day, up from the current R69. Some workers welcomed the news, but made it clear they still want to put up a fight for their initial demand of R150 per day. Read more
A 2012 protest over wages
The battle over factory pay in Indonesia is intensifying, with vocal local trade unions joining hands with a US non-governmental organisation to pressure Nike suppliers into paying minimum wages.
A yawning gap is opening up between employers, who argue that hefty minimum wage increases are destroying their profitability, and trade unions, who argue that wages must rise further and employment conditions be improved. Read more
The Thai government, known for its string of populist policies including rice and fuel subsidies, is delighting working class voters (those with a job, anyway) with the introduction of a national minimum wage, which kicked in on January 1.
The policy has already triggered fierce criticism in business circles and reports of job losses, particularly in rural provinces. Yet, some experts argue that despite short term pain, a hefty national minimum wage increase will raise both living standards and productivity. Read more
Despite a big round of minimum wage hikes, Indonesia’s manufacturing belt hasn’t seen the end of the recent wave of labour disputes.
Wednesday witnessed the latest in a series of mass protests organized in recent weeks in Jakarta by workers’ unions complaining about “outsourcing”— local lingo for taking on temporary workers without the additional cost of providing healthcare and pension benefits. Read more
Halwani Bros, a Saudi food producer, seems to think it has a recipe for labour market transformation – beyond the dense, sesame halawa dessert, for which it is famous. The 60-year-old, Riyadh-listed company has set a minimum wage of SAR3,000 ($800) per month for Saudi employees, according to a report in Arab News.
The move may only benefit 80 nationals employed at food production plants across the kingdom, as well as 50 more that the company plans to hire – but the decision could have far-reaching ramifications for other Saudis. Read more