Minimum Wage and the Canasta Basica (Basic Basket)
COSEP, the “Consejo Superior de la Empresa Privada” (or in English; Superior Council of Private Enterprise) has proposed a 6% increase in the minimum wage for members in the micro, small and medium sector and 7% for the remainder of the sectors. This would give agricultural workers, (farm hands) another 110 Cordoba’s ($5) per month and would increase them to 1,683 Cordoba’s ($80) a month.
To put that in perspective, the latest price (Nov.09) on the “Canasta Basica”, (Basic Basket) is 8,329 Cordoba’s per month. This “Basket” is a somewhat fictitious monthly budget for a family of five (3 adults, 2 children) and includes 50 or so items including rent, utilities, food and clothing. The “Canasta Basica” gets used a lot as a bargaining tool, especially in times of wage negotiations.
In the case of a farm worker, all five members of the family (including the kids) would have to be working full time to cover the monthly cost of the basket, begging the question, how credible is this measurement of a family budget, and/or; how realistic are the minimum wages for the nine sectors, farm hands being just one of them.