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MADRID (Reuters) – Improving economic conditions should allow Spain to approve a long-awaited minimum wage hike in September, the economy minister said on Monday, ending months of back-and-forth comes between unions and companies.

The “limited” increase would take effect as early as October, Economy Minister Nadia Calvino said in an interview with Spanish television channel TVE.

She declined to estimate the extent of the likely increase.

His left-wing coalition last increased the minimum wage by 5.5% in 2020, shortly before the pandemic, bringing it to 1,108 euros ($ 1,314.09) per month.

The positive development of the Spanish labor market, with unemployment approaching pre-pandemic levels, now allows for a further increase, Calvino said.

The number of people registered as unemployed fell 2.4% in August to 3.33 million, the lowest level since February 2020, a month before a nationwide lockdown was imposed, causing a spiral economic.

At that time, 3.25 million people were unemployed.

The minimum wage in Spain is set through negotiations between unions and company representatives, although the government can impose a settlement if no consensus is reached.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said last week that the government wanted an “immediate” increase in the minimum wage.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Inti Landauro; editing by Nathan Allen and Jason Neely)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.