Spain agrees 4 percent rise in minimum wage for 2018

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s government has agreed with trade unions a 4 percent rise in the minimum wage to 736 euros ($872) per month next year, Employment Minister Fatima Banez said on Tuesday.

Spain’s economy emerged from recession in 2013 and become one of the fastest growing economies in the euro zone. However, many of the jobs created during the recovery have been temporary or part-time, leading to low wages and rising inequality.

Unions have long asked for wages to rise to reflect Spain’s strong economic growth. The government’s end-of-year growth forecast is 3.1 percent. On Tuesday, they said they were pleased with the wage increase.

“It is a boost to rebuild the salaries of people who lost most in the economic crisis,” said Unai Sordo, leader of the Workers’ Commissions, Spain’s largest union.

Spain’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in almost nine years in the third quarter, mostly boosted by jobs growth in the services industry. But at 16.4 percent it is still one of the highest unemployment rates among developed countries.

($1 = 0.8442 euros)

Reporting By Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Gareth Jones