Decent minimum wages will not only support social stability, but will contribute to economic stability by supporting purchasing power and demand.
Today, the European Parliament has adopted a landmark Directive that will set adequate minimum wages, strengthen collective bargaining and reinforce trade union rights.
This legislation has been under discussion for more than three years, and it has never been as relevant as now. Energy prices are going through the roof, food is becoming more expensive and inflation is rising. Yet the number of workers falling into poverty is exploding across Europe. People are struggling to make ends meet. The current price hike represents a real wage cut for workers.
We need adequate minimum wages to tackle the cost of living crisis that millions of workers are now facing in Europe.
Why is this legislation so important?
- It sets a standard for Member States to consider when they are setting the statutory minimum wage. This includes the cost of living, purchasing power and productivity.
- It makes a clear reference to decency thresholds: at least 50% of the average wage and 60% of the median wage.
- EU countries will have to check their minimum wages against these benchmarks and take action to meet these criteria. This will boost the wages of millions of Europeans.
- It will empower trade unions at the workplace by granting them easier access to workers. This will help unions in their organising efforts and in building trade union power.
- It will protect workers who want to join trade unions and participate in collective bargaining.
- Workers and their representatives will be protected against discrimination by their employers.
- In countries where collective bargaining coverage is below 80%, action plans will have to be developed to promote collective bargaining and combat trade union busting. This should increase the number of workers protected by collective agreements.
- It clarifies that only trade unions can do collective bargaining.
- It applies to all workers.
Isabelle Barthès, Deputy General Secretary of industriAll Europe:
“As we are facing the most severe social crisis in the history of the EU, with millions of people living on the brink of poverty, this Directive is a strong tool to address low pay and in-work poverty.
“Decent minimum wages will not only support social stability, but will contribute to economic stability by supporting purchasing power and demand.
“As trade unions, we also warmly welcome the fact that the Directive strengthens trade union rights and collective bargaining.”
IndustriAll Europe now calls for the immediate implementation of the Directive. This is both a moral and political obligation.
We are committed to making full use of the opportunities opened by the Directive to ensure that work pays again and to tackle wage inequalities. To this end, we will develop strategies with our affiliates at both national and sectoral level.