EU countries on track for a new guaranteed minimum wage.

Brussels, 6 Dec 2021 – An actual minimum wage for EU workers is on track to become a reality. Today the Council passed its mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament for a final text to be approved. What EU is doing is developing common standards each country will have to follow to ensure workers an actual minimum wage they can live on. There would not be a single EU minimum wage.

What is going to improve for workers in the 27 countries? The goal is to create four main obligations for Member States:

1) promote collective bargaining, in particular on wage setting
2) respect a number of procedural obligations, if and when Member States set or update
statutory minimum wages and assess their adequacy
3) take measures to enhance effective access to minimum wage protection of workers who are entitled to a minimum wage under national law
4) collect data and report it to Commission in order to monitor the coverage and adequacy of minimum wage protection

The work of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council (which is going to be replaced by the French one from January) to reach a common position was aimed also at tackling gender pay gap to empower workers and enforce their right to equal pay for equal work between men and women.

In the Commission’s 2020 proposal, the objective of adequacy would be pursued by different means, depending on whether minimum wage protection is provided by statutory minimum wages, if it is provided exclusively by collective bargaining on wage setting or provided by a combination of these two approaches. There’s a wide range of possible agreement on the final text of law to be approved by the Parliament next year.

Wages security declined over the last 10 years and the pandemic worsened the issue: 70% of workers in the Union finds difficult to make ends meets.

In last 25 November plenary session the European Parliament supported (443 votes to 192 and 58 abstentions) the negotiating mandate of the co-rapporteurs Dennis Radtke (EPP, German) and Agnes Jongerius (S&D, Dutch) on the directive on minimum wages.

“A statutory minimum wage must be fare and guarantee a decent level of living for millions of workers in the EU: this can make a big difference. It is an enormous jump towards increasing minimum wages and boosting collective bargaining throughout EU”, said Agnes Jongerius.

Justine de Braeme