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Ukraine Minimum Wage Rise Blocked

December 23, 1998

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) _ Ukraine’s left-leaning parliament on Wednesday failed to override a presidential veto on a bill that would have sharply raised the country’s minimum wage.

Last month, parliament nearly tripled the monthly minimum wage from $16 to $43, and also set the official poverty level at $35 a month.

However, President Leonid Kuchma declined to sign the bill, arguing that the hike would force the government to lay off workers and print more money.

Only 201 lawmakers in the 450-seat legislature voted to override the veto, falling nearly 100 votes short of the two-thirds majority required.

Nearly all Ukrainians earn more than the minimum wage, and the average monthly salary was about $50 in the first half of 1998.

The minimum wage and poverty level figures, though, are used to calculate salaries and various payments throughout the country.

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