Humala Raises Minimum Wage as Peru Prepares to Elect Successor

  • Law increases wage by 100 soles to 850 soles from May 1
  • Most presidential candidates have said they would raise wage

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala authorized a 13 percent increase in the minimum wage, stealing the thunder of presidential candidates who promised a raise as part of their campaigns.

Humala, who isn’t eligible to run in the April 10 vote, signed a decree raising the legal monthly minimum to 850 soles ($252) from 750 soles at an event in Puno, in the south of Peru. The increase is effective May 1, which is Labor Day in the Andean nation. The measure will benefit 650,000 workers, the Labor Ministry said in a statement on its website.

After taking office in 2011, Humala raised the wage 150 soles in two steps, following a pledge to redistribute wealth as the economy boomed on rising metal prices. His popularity has sagged after metal prices fell and growth slowed. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, running second in recent voter opinion polls, had made raising the minimum wage to 850 soles one of his top economic proposals.

“There’s a lot of demand for these type of measures,” Kuczynski, who’s known as PPK, told Lima-based Radio Programas. ‘Whether it’s Ollanta or PPK that enacts them, it doesn’t matter. What’s really important is that it’s part of a complete package,” not an isolated measure, Kuczynski said.

Finance Minister Alonso Segura said last year the government was considering a fresh increase in the minimum wage.

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