Latin America & Caribbean

Hugo Chavez says Venezuela's minimum wage to rise 25%

Hugo Chavez speaks during a cabinet meeting at Miraflores Palace in Caracas April 25, 2011
Image caption Mr Chavez said there had been an increase every year since he came to power in 1999

Venezuela's minimum wage will rise by more than 25%, President Hugo Chavez has announced.

Workers will get a 15% increase from 1 May, and then a 10% rise in September bringing the monthly salary to the equivalent of $360 (£220).

Some sectors had asked for a much bigger rise with inflation rate at 27%.

Mr Chavez, almost certain to run in next year's 2012 presidential poll, has promised to use more profits from the oil industry to boost social spending.

The rise in the minimum wage will benefit several million people.

Announcing the move, President Chavez noted that there had been increases every year since he came to power in 1999.

"Here we are not cutting salaries nor pension nor delaying the pension age, nothing of that," he said.

Rising oil prices have boosted Venezuela's income but the country is suffering one of the highest rates of inflation in Latin America.

Venezuela's Communist Party (PCV), the main ally of Mr Chavez's Socialist Party (PSUV) had asked for a minimum salary increase of no less than 40%, the Spanish news agency Efe reports.

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