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Brazil's Lula says minimum wage has to rise in line with economic growth

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speaks during the inauguration ceremony of the new Banco do Brasil President Tarciana Medeiros, in Brasilia, Brazil January 16, 2023. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Wednesday that the country's minimum wage must rise in line with its economic growth, after the government approved a 7.43% year-on-year increase in monthly wages to 1,302 reais ($253.59).

"We have already proven that it is possible to raise the minimum wage above inflation," Lula said after a meeting with unionists, seemingly opening the door for more potential increases.

His Labor Minister, Luiz Marinho, said that a working group would be formed to debate the minimum wage and if any further changes should be introduced, with a deadline of 45 days that could be extended for another 45.

"The working group will take into account the entire economic situation of the country," Marinho said.

At the event, Lula added that he was set to travel to the United States to meet President Joe Biden on Feb. 10, while also planning a trip to China in March.

Biden had invited Lula to visit Washington next month when the leaders of the two largest democracies in the Western Hemisphere had a phone call to discuss the Jan. 8 invasion of government buildings in Brasilia.

($1 = 5.1343 reais)

(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Editing by Steven Grattan and Isabel Woodford)

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