The second leftist government in Uruguay, elected in 2009, has deepened its pro-labor policies through Wage Councils and a tripartite system to fix the minimum wage for all occupational categories in all sectors of the economy. In doing so, it played a strategic role in promoting progressive income redistribution. In recent years real wages have grown by 4% per annum, and the minimum wage has increased by 250%. Previous to the arrival of the leftist government in 2004, the average salary represented 6.5 times the minimum wage, whereas today the average salary is only three times the minimum wage. Contrary to conventional wisdom that redistributive policies reduce levels of employment, the unemployment rates fell from 13.7% before the first leftist government came to power in 2004 to about 6.1% on average during its second term in office.
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