Venezuela Workers to Get 30% Wage Hike, More Increases Coming to Close Gap With 59.3% Inflation Rate

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By Vittorio Hernandez | May 1, 2014 9:51 AM EST

Anti-government protesters burn an effigy depicting Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas April 20, 2014. Masked youths battled police, protesters burned and hung from lamp-posts effigies of Maduro and marchers demanded the
Anti-government protesters burn an effigy depicting Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas April 20, 2014. Masked youths battled police, protesters burned and hung from lamp-posts effigies of Maduro and marchers demanded the "resurrection" of democracy on a volatile Easter Sunday in Venezuela. REUTERS/Christian Veron (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday a 30 per cent increase in the country's minimum wage.

The salary hike is on the heels of a 10 per cent increase in January in a bid to close the gap with the country's soaring inflation rate of 59.3 per cent.

Mr Maduro, who promised more pay boosts in 2014, told workers in an address at the presidential palace, "I have decided on an increase in the national minimum wage and pensions of 30 percent to get them where they need to be for life in our country."

With the wage increase, the new minimum pay would be 4,252 bolivars a month from 3,270. If the government-set exchange rate would be followed, it is supposed to be equivalent to $675, but at black market rates, it is just 10 per cent of about $67.

Prior to the announcement, anti-government protests by students over the high crime rate, inflation, shortages of basic goods - including toilet paper - and other economic problems were held in the past two months, resulting in the death of 41 protesters and injury to more than 700 Venezuelans.

The wage hike are seen as a way of appeasing the angry Venezuelans, many of whom said they would continue with the protest until Maduro quits.

Mr Maduro was elected president in a closely-fought election in 2013 after strongman Hugo Chavez died of cancer.

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(Photo: / )
Anti-government protesters burn an effigy depicting Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas April 20, 2014. Masked youths battled police, protesters burned and hung from lamp-posts effigies of Maduro and marchers demanded the "resurrection" of democracy on a volatile Easter Sunday in Venezuela. REUTERS/Christian Veron (VENEZUELA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
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