EU strikes deal to ensure fair minimum wage for workers

Politicians in Brussels have reached an agreement on how EU countries will guarantee an adequate minimum wage as part of a measure that will protect workers at a time of soaring inflation and a crisis in the cost of life.

In the agreement reached between the European Council and Parliament on Tuesday, member states will collect data on minimum wage coverage, assess the prices of common household items and promote the principle of collective bargaining to help companies pay wages fair.

“It’s a good day for social Europe. We have reached an agreement on the directive on adequate minimum wages in the EU. This is particularly important at a time when many households fear they will not be able to make ends meet,” said Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights.

MEPs, Member States and the European Commission have agreed to establish a framework for setting statutory minimum wages. They include the obligation for Member States to establish clear criteria for updating minimum wages every two to four years and the creation of advisory bodies in which ‘social partners’ such as trade unions can participate.

EU countries should also collect data on minimum wage coverage and adequacy, and ensure workers have access to dispute resolution mechanisms, the EU executive said.

“The new rules will protect the dignity of work and ensure that work pays,” commission chair Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement. Twitter post.

The provisional deal is expected to be signed by parliament and member states this month and then published in the EU’s official journal. Countries will have two years to implement the rule after it is published.

The new law will include provisions for the promotion and facilitation of collective bargaining on wages by trade unions and employers in all member states.

“Countries with high collective bargaining coverage tend to have a lower share of low-wage workers, lower wage inequality and higher wages,” the commission said. Member states with collective bargaining coverage rated at less than 80 per cent of workers should have a plan in place to facilitate such discussions between employers and workers, he added.

Agnes Jongerius, one of the MEPs backing the bill in parliament, said: “Over the past decade wages have lagged behind rising productivity. The workers got a smaller slice of the pie. This is especially true for those earning the lowest wages.

She said workers had been the victims of policymakers calling for a reduction in the scope of social protection systems after the global financial crisis.

While the directive only requires a qualified majority of member state votes to pass, Denmark is likely to vote against it on the grounds that the country does not believe the EU should meddle in pay issues, two say people familiar with Denmark. position. In recent years, other Nordic countries have also expressed concern that such a law would weaken their collective bargaining systems.

In addition, the commission, parliament and member states are about to agree on a law obliging companies to aim for 40% female participation on their boards. The commission first proposed the directive in 2012, but it faced opposition from countries like Germany and some Nordic and Baltic states.

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