Again, Workers’ Wages Lose by a landslide

Photo Natalia Motyl
Natalia Motyl

Bachelor of Economics (UBA). Economic Analyst of Libertad y Progreso.

CRONISTA – In recent weeks, the conflict with the Buenos Aires police officers placed on the agenda the pressing reality of Argentine workers who always see how their wages do not accompany the loss of purchasing power of the currency. It is the same old story in which, again, wages lose by a landslide.

The extensive quarantine, added to the crisis of confidence that has been brewing since last year, caused a corroding of the salaries measured in dollars of the Argentines. We repeatedly hear from politics that, more precisely, there are certain services that are considered “essential” but are education, security and health workers really so important for politicians? How are their salaries coming?

If we take the salaries of essential services, which are considered as “services provided by whoever corresponds, either by the government, or by anyone, whose interruption would endanger the life, personal safety or health of the whole or part of the population ”, we see that these have deteriorated compared to the rest of the Latin American region. The salaries of doctors, policemen and teachers in Argentina represent between 10 and 14% of salaries in the United States and between 8 and 12% of salaries in Australia.

Today the average salary of a doctor in our country, measured with the official exchange rate, is US $ 602, 14.5% of the average salary of a doctor in the United States and 7.8% of a doctor’s salary in Australia. Whereas if we compare with the rest of the region, we see that in Brazil it is US $ 1,891, more than double that in Argentina, in Chile the average salary of a doctor is US $ 1,315 and in Ecuador it is US $ 1,324. Meanwhile, in Uruguay it is US $ 941 and in Peru it is US $ 988. On average, the salary of an Argentine doctor is well below the average for the region (US $ 1,291), without representing half the average salary in Latin America (46.6%).

In the same way, the salary of a policeman, considering the increase in recent days, is 10.2% of the salary of a policeman in the US and 11.8% of a salary of a policeman in Australia. In Argentina it is US $ 553 measured with the official exchange rate and US $ 314 measured with the blue exchange rate. If we compare with the rest of the region we see that the salary in dollars is 62% of the average of the region below Chile (US $ 1,140), Ecuador (US $ 950), Peru (US $ 909), Uruguay (US $ 870) and Brazil ($ 614).

Finally, we see that also the salary of teachers – still absorbing 90% of the budget in education in salaries – is also well below the rest of the salaries of the world. The salary of a teacher is only US $ 377, measured at the official exchange rate, and US $ 214 at the blue exchange rate. In relation to the salaries of the rest of the world we see that it is only 9.0% of the salary of an average teacher in the US (US $ 4166) and 8.2% of an average salary in Australia (US $ 4,594). If we compare it with the rest of the region, we see that the outlook is not very encouraging: the average salary of a teacher is US $ 1,175 in Chile, US $ 982 in Brazil, US $ 941 in Uruguay, US $ 817 in Ecuador and US $ 354 in Peru. The average salary of a teacher does not represent even half the average salary in the Latin American region (US $ 854).

Obviously, although the essentials are services that society could not do without; their salaries today are among the lowest in the Latin American region. How do we allow that? The health, education, and security workers put their hearts, like all Argentine workers, to the reality of our country and today their quality of life is severely deteriorated. Unfortunately, improving the well-being and quality of life of the working class is not a priority today on the economic agenda.