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Living with the Minimum Wage in Nicaragua

Article Summary:

More than 100,000 Nicaraguans live on a minimum income of about $ 130. This limited amount fails to cover even half the cost of basic goods food basic, which in 2011 exceeded the amount of $ 435.

Photo Credit: La Prensa Nicaragua

Original Article Text From La Prensa Nicaragua via Google Translate :

Living with the Minimum Wage in Nicaragua

Celia Briceño almost always smiling. He has 26 years, a single mother, high school and wants to be a psychologist. But for now their aspirations to expect.Their low incomes do not allow it. Daily work almost 11 hours in a sweatshop in the North Road, as a supervisor of quality products.

Spends most of the day sitting checking piece by piece, which received international good pay. And for that work gets córdobas 4.000 per month (about $ 173). “This is super hard, because wages are very low,” he says after a long workday. Today, as every day, nor was there a minute to rest, just no time for lunch. He has seven years in the maquila and entered “by connecting” he says, when at age 18 had to drop out because they became pregnant.

 Celia says not being a lover of mathematics. The numbers have never been his forte, but in recent years has learned to live with them. Rarely short, almost always remains in the purchase of your home.And she is one of the more than 100 thousand workers in Nicaragua survive on minimum wage, calculated on an average of 3.012 córdobas.

 With this minimum income families are unable to cover even 30 percent of the runaway basket of goods and services, which at the end of 2011 more than 10.135 Cordoba, according to recent data from the Central Bank of Nicaragua (BCN). “At home we intestines and sausages with the money,” says this woman apparel while ensuring not to give up, “I want to be a psychologist or a translator of languages.”
Official figures speak for themselves. No confusion or give rise to populism. Only one sector, of the 11 that are governed by the minimum wage can cover 40 percent market basket. The rest reaches 20 or 30 percent. Celia is in this last section, because the wage córdobas 4.000 is not your basic income.

 To reach 2.000 córdobas a fortnight, this woman must meet strict labor regime. You can not miss even one day to work, must meet the required eight hours of overtime per week, to achieve the production target and must enter at 7:00 am If you check out these hours lost half the incentive (250 cordobas) and mileage (100 cordobas). Then the accounts would come home not.

 Nor is there time for vacation. All are paid. In the month or living trust to lend money on the sale. “I feel like work and work and my life does not change,” he says while looking straight out of more than 700 co-workers who share similar stories.

 Between 2007 and 2011 the price of a basket of 53 products has increased by 2.150 cordobas (22 percent), according to official figures. Only food expenses for setting has been 26 percent. In real data, in 2007 a 4.493 average household córdobas disbursed to buy food, now needs 6.068 córdobas.

 And although the increase in the clothing section to, it was not like food, buy a garment for households that survive on the minimum wage has become a luxury. Celia knows well what you need to save for two paychecks to buy a pair of shoes to her young son. “That forces me to cut expenses and the payment of food in my work,” he says. In 2007 a family had to spend 696 Cordobas for clothes, now needs 995, according to the NCB.

 The construction workers, utilities, trade and financial sector are the only workers who earn minimum pay, whose ability to cover the basket ranges between 37 and 45 percent. Julio Garcia is under construction foreman. Started as an assistant, with pickaxe and shovel took refuge in the building after being unemployed with the fall of the first government of Daniel Ortega in the late eighties.

 This worker studied in Cuba 48 years. He specialized in handling explosives. After the fall of the Sandinista revolution did not find his employer. It was as a bricklayer to break rocks and remove the cement. “My income was a pittance,” he says. I paid 14.09 per hour córdobas. With that income should keep the costs of his two daughters, his wife and the rent.

 In the last five years, Julio acknowledges that his pay has risen to “dropper.” You did it because since 2004 he decided to study technical courses. That has allowed him to join today revenues córdobas 6.000 per month.

 But like her salary, expenses have also risen. Her eldest daughter going to college this year and her other daughter finish high school. Who will cover those expenses? “We can only poor scholarship or study in public schools,” he laments.

 And while July has an income of 6,000 cordobas, this is reduced because each month to pay 1.800 cordobas a house obtained through the Government. “I must also pay for basic services. It is difficult to stretch the money. ”

 And July Celia share another common limitation: almost never have money for fun and leisure, as provided in the basic expenditure basket includes familiar. His only family entertainment venues are public parks.

 “All I want is for my children who fail to prepare for so many financial constraints for not having a good salary,” says construction worker. That same feeling shared Celia, who says that “if I have to further reduce my personal expenses for my child to never miss school, I will.”

 C $ 10135.9 is the price of the basket of products until Dec. 53. In 2007, according to official data, the cost of the basket was córdobas 7713.9.

Link to Original Article:

From La Prensa Nicaragua

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