uNegotiators from the EU Parliament and the member states agreed on common standards for minimum wages on Tuesday night. Now there is a recommendation to the member states that minimum wages are “fair and just” if they reflect 60 percent of the median income and 50 percent of the average income, said the CDU MEP Dennis Radtke, who was involved in the negotiations, on Tuesday morning in Strasbourg. Federal Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) reacted with satisfaction.
The proposed directive will encourage collective bargaining to set wages and improve minimum wage protection for workers who are entitled to a minimum wage through a statutory minimum wage or collective bargaining agreement, Member States said. The draft therefore stipulates that member states in which collective bargaining coverage is less than 80 percent must make plans to increase the quota.
The European Commission welcomed the agreement. According to the Commission, the new directive does not oblige member states to introduce statutory minimum wages. It also does not set a common minimum wage level in the EU.
Package against wage dumping and to strengthen the collective bargaining system
Federal Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) said he was “very happy” about the agreement. This would set new standards for a social Europe. “Anyone who works must be able to make a reasonable living from it – that applies in Stockholm and Lisbon as well as in Berlin and Bucharest,” Heil continued. The EU Parliament and the member states now have to formally approve the agreement. The member states then have two years to transpose the directive into national law.
“The new EU directive must now be decided quickly and then implemented immediately in Germany,” demanded Pascal Meiser, spokesman for trade union policy for the left in the Bundestag. However, the current plans of the traffic light coalition would not be “by far” enough to increase the collective bargaining agreement in Germany to the future minimum level. A comprehensive package of measures against wage dumping and to strengthen the collective bargaining system is therefore needed.
However, Sweden and Denmark spoke out against the new directive on Tuesday. They saw this as political interference in setting wages in their countries. Nevertheless, the directive should succeed, with more than 15 of the 27 member states supporting the common minimum wage standards.