Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez today said his cabinet would approve a 22 percent increase in the monthly minimum wage to €1,050 ($1,192) by 2019.
The increase, “the biggest since 1977”, will be approved at a cabinet meeting to be held in Barcelona on December 21st, he told parliament.
“A rich country can’t have poor workers,” said Sanchez. The measure was part of his minority Socialist government’s draft 2019 budget which he is struggling to pass in parliament so it will now be approved by decree.
The announcement comes after French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled Monday a 100-euro ($113) per month increase in the minimum wage from next year in a major concession to “yellow vest” protests which have roiled the country.
The government estimated the minimum wage hike will cost the state €340 million per year. Employers groups and the conservative opposition parties, the Popular Party (PP) and Ciudadanos however oppose the wage hike, saying it will hurt job creation.
Pablo Hernandez de Cos told journalists last month that the salary rise would slash 0.8 percent of jobs in Spain and “have the opposite effect to that intended of hindering those we want to help most, young people.”