Workers, employers and government representatives in Panama are discussing adjustments to the minimum wage, the changes to which must come into effect on January 1, 2020, the union sector aiming for a minimum wage of US$1,040, but employers say the current economic situation does not lend itself to substantial increases.

Genaro Lopez, general secretary of the National Confederation of Trade Union Unity (Conusi), told Laestrella.com.pa that “… According to our economists, the household that does not receive US$1,040 cannot satisfy its basic needs. In addition, this would be an orientation for the new salary to be at least in that figure.”

Severo Sousa, former president of the National Council of Private Enterprise (Conep), explained that “… the sector does not disagree with an increase, rather they do not support the excessive income that is not in accordance with the current reality. We have become accustomed to an increase in salary; however, the law does not establish that it should be increased, but rather talks about revising it. The country’s current economic situation does not lend itself to further increases.”

The minimum wages that are in force in the country are differentiated, and for the years 2018-2019 were set at US$721 for Region 1 and US$563 for Region 2.

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