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Monday, May 5, 2003

Venezuela's Chavez decrees sharp minimum wage hike

Reuters, 04.30.03, 3:07 PM ET

CARACAS, Venezuela, April 30 (Reuters) - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, whose leftist government is struggling to overcome a harsh recession and a fiscal shortfall, on Wednesday decreed a 10-percent hike in minimum wages from July and another sharp 20 percent increase from October.

"The increase of 10 percent will start from July 1," Chavez told an audience during a workers award ceremony.

Chavez, a populist elected in 1998, is presiding over an oil-rich economy in steep decline. His government has already implemented strict currency and price controls that private sector leaders say have worsened the nation's economic crisis by starving businesses of dollars for more than three months.

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