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By May 2006, the minimum wage for public sector workers will be raised from 600 to 1,100 rubles
By May 2006, the minimum wage for public sector workers will be raised from 600 to 1,100 rubles ($1 equals 27.8 rubles). State Duma deputies adopted an amendment to this effect in the second reading yesterday. By 2008 (when the next parliamentary elections are due), the United Russia party, which has a majority in the Duma, promised to bring minimal wages into line with the minimal subsistence level (now 2,396 rubles), Izvestia reports. Mikhail Zurabov, the health and social development minister, believes that if the minimum wage exceeds a certain level (e.g. 800 rubles), regional budgets may suffer a deficit that could entail forced redundancies in public sector organizations, transforming the minimum wage from an economic into a political indicator. However, the United Russia faction held consultations before the Duma plenary session and decided to raise the minimum wage to 720 rubles from January 1, 2005, to 800 rubles on September 1, and then to 1,100 rubles on May 1, 2006. Therefore, within a year and half (from late 2004 to May 2006), public sector workers will have had their wages increased by 84%, which, though not reaching the minimal subsistence level, will at least cover inflation, said Andrei Isayev, the head of the Duma committee for labor and social policy.
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