13 Dec 2018
Spain’s government is to agree on a 22% increase in the national minimum wage next week in an attempt to relieve tensions between Madrid and Barcelona.
A cabinet meeting will be held in Barcelona on December 21 by prime minister Pedro Sanchez in order to approve the measure, which would then be implemented in January.
Although Spain adjusts the minimum wage every year, this 22% rise is the greatest in more than 40 years and would mark an increase from €736 to €900 for low-paid workers.
"A rich country can't afford to have poor workers," Sanchez told the Spanish parliament in a debate on Wednesday.
This move follows French President Emmanuel Macron’s announcement of a €100 increase for minimum wage earners, motivated by huge protests over a rise to fuel tax taking place around France.
Aljazeera reports that the Spanish wage rise forms part of an agreement by the ruling Socialists to pass the country’s 2019 budget with the backing of anti-austerity party Podemos.
Sanchez, 48, took over his predecessor in June after an unexpected parliamentary vote of no-confidence. However, his Socialists dominate just 84 seats in the 350-seat parliament and must also depend on Podemos and the Catalan separatist parties in order for the implementation of new and significant measures, which includes the budget.