Santa Cruz, unsafe city

The unreasonable salary increase

May 1 of every year should be a day of celebration for workers and those who generate work, but in Bolivia it is a day of contradictions: the successive governments of the Movement for Socialism have turned this date into a holiday of announcements of generous wage increases far removed from the conditions of the economy and companies to comply with these increases.

This year, companies have not even recovered from the great blow of the pandemic for two years and they will already have to pay a salary increase in percentages that the Government unilaterally defines with the Bolivian Workers Central (COB), without considering the opinion of the workers. who are going to pay that increase, who are not given the opportunity to say at least if they can or cannot comply.

A study of the businessmen of Santa Cruz showed this week that of the 35 productive sectors in the country, 20 have not recovered from the crisis caused by Covid-19 and that therefore they will not be in a position to assume a salary increase.

The COB proposed to the Government an increase of 7 percent to the national basic salary and 10 percent to the minimum wage; that is to say, as if the country were in an accelerated growth rate, the union leaders seem to live in another country, and even so, one would have to wonder which country in the world would be in a position to make such an increase after the pandemic.

The Government itself speaks of a recovery of the economy when the facts show that this is not the case, and even announces that there is a “good probability” that this year the payment of the double bonus will be ordered.

The pandemic is not the only reason for the business crisis; There is an additional factor that has made the fate of those who produce and create jobs in the country uphill, and that is contraband: Bolivian markets have more contraband products than products made in the country, and the authorities have done little to deal with this or nothing.

But there are also informality, subjugation, regulations that restrict exports, tax pressure, labor overregulation, effects on supply chains and even frequent roadblocks that prevent the timely transportation of products. In other words, there is a long list of factors that threaten business activity on a daily basis and that also counts when determining whether they are in a position to cover salary increases.

The affected sectors, grouped in the Santa Cruz Business Chambers, proposed to the government to change salary policies to change this arbitrary way of defining salary increases and labor benefits, ignoring the possibilities of those who pay the bill.

It is a lot to ask the government, but if there is a hint of common sense in any authority, it should serve to reflect that in exchange for a return of populist favorability of the workers who will see their incomes rise, salary increases not agreed upon with the one who pays them will not not only collide with the financial health of private companies, but are also an attack against the nearly 100,000 young people who each year complete their training, seek quality jobs, but who, with the annual blows to those who generate sources of work, will probably You will find closed doors.

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