The directive on minimum wages and collective bargaining has today received its final approval after a two-year legislative process and a long campaign by trade unions.
Member states must now take action to ensure that they have laws and practices in place in time to meet the two-year deadline for transposition of the Directive following its formal adoption by the Council of the EU’s meeting of finance ministers this morning.
The ETUC is calling on Members States to immediately follow the example in Germany by raising wages.
Europe took an important step towards ending poverty pay today as the Directive on adequate minimum wages cleared its final vote in the European Parliament with a convincing majority of 505 MEPs in favour, 92 against and 44 abstentions.
Europe’s lowest paid workers have seen the value of their wages fall by up to 19 per cent this year, representing the biggest fall in real minimum wages this century, an ETUC analysis of Eurostat data has found.
Statutory minimum wages have risen by an average of 7,6% over the last year in the 21 EU countries which have one. But, in the same countries, the rate of inflation has increased by an average of 12,4%.
An autumn of action is on the agenda for trade unions in the UK. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is calling for a minimum wage of £15 (€17.35), help with soaring energy bills, and a real pay rise for every worker.
The European Commission has supported the view of trade unions that it is price rises, particularly for energy, that are the primary driver of inflation rather than wages.
In its summer economic forecast, the Commission says both that “surging prices of energy remain the main inflation driver” and “a persistent feedback loop between wages and inflation is unlikely to develop” as real terms wage growth remained negative.
Germany’s new government is to raise the country's minimum wage to €12 per hour in October, following a strong campaign for a higher wage floor by the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB).
The increase of nearly 15% will benefit nearly 6.2 million low-paid workers – two thirds of them women – making up 10% of the country’s workforce and giving Germany the second-highest minimum wage in Europe after Luxembourg.
The gap in earnings between the richest and poorest Europeans grew in a majority of EU countries over the last decade, according to a new report which underlines the need for EU action to end poverty pay.
The ‘unequal Europe’ report released today by the ETUC and its ETUI research institute shows wage inequality increased in 14 member states between 2010 and 2019, most notably in Hungary, Spain and Belgium.
The Estonian Trade Union Confederation (EAKL) and the Estonian Employers' Confederation have reached a deal on raising the country’s minimum monthly salary by €70 in 2022, to €654. The hourly wage will increase to €3.86. Minimum wages should also be decoupled from other benefits, such as child support payments.