The price of food has gone up by 17% in the past year in Malaga. / migue fernández

Wage rises are not keeping pace with inflation

The loss of purchasing power in Malaga is greater than in many other provinces in Andalucía and Spain

J. LÓPEZ / A. MARTÍN CAMPOS MADRID / MALAGA.

Salaries may be going up in Malaga province but the cost of living is rising faster. The Consumer Price Index for October shows that the average rate of inflation in the province has been 8% in the past year, while wage increases agreed between January and October have been for an average of 2.53%. In other words, barely one-third.

The loss of purchasing power in Malaga is greater than in many other provinces in Andalucía; only in Cordoba and Jaén is the gap between wages and prices wider. It is also greater in Malaga than in the country as a whole, as the CPI for Spain is one point lower than that for the province.

The situation for pensioners, however, is different as their pensions rise in line with inflation and are expected to rise by around 8.5% in January.

Wage increases in Malaga do not compare very favourably with those elsewhere in Spain, either. For example, the average increase in Guipúzcoa is 6%, in Valencia 5.26%, Lugo 4.45% and Vizcaya 4.29%. The average rise in Malaga is not only 3.47 points below the highest in the country but is only 1.11 points above the lowest.

"People are losing out"

“Salaries appear to be going up, but in fact people are losing out. You think you’re earning more but because inflation is higher than the increase, your capacity for spending is dropping,” explained the provincial secretary of the Comisiones Obreras union, Fernando Cubillo. “Salaries should have to go up by at least as much as the core inflation rate, which remains more or less stable all year”.

Core inflation, which does not include food and energy products because those are more susceptible to external influences, is currently 6.2%, so the vast majority of salary increases are far below that level.

Leonor Gálvez of the UGT said the current situation is very worrying. “Although things have improved with the labour reform, there are still a lot of workers on part-time contracts who don’t earn enough to cover their costs. Food, mortgage repayments, energy bills… it all adds up, and the way to alleviate the problem is to provide higher quality, more stable jobs,” she said.

“We do not share the mantra that if companies put wages up they are going to find themselves in difficulties. If you have money, that money is going to boost the economy. We have to commit to wage increases. If you slow them down and everything else keeps going up, the economy will come to a half and that will affect the most vulnerable in society, who have the lowest income, most.”