An analysis by the European Trade Union Institute shows that wage convergence between East and West in Europe was steady up until 2008. However, since then the trend has either stalled or gone into reverse. Taking national average pay as a percentage of the average across the pre-2004 EU15, Croatia and Hungary show the largest increase in the pay gap since 2008. There were also increases in Slovenia, Czech Republic, Poland and Romania.Most progress was made in Bulgaria but from a very low level (11.8%) to 17.7%, still less than a fifth of average pay in the West.
East-West pay convergence stalls
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An analysis of pay in the public sector reveals that the average civil servant has seen a cumulative loss of purchasing power of EUR 6000 since 2010 as public sector pay has failed to increase in line with prices. In the last nine years there have been just two increases in the index that sets civil servants' pay - only 0.6% in July 2016 and the same amount in February 2017. Taking a longer perspective, 20 years ago around 10% of civil servants were paid in a range between the minimum wage and 10% above the minimum wage. That percentage has almost doubled meaning that 1 million civil servants
On 9 October the KTAMS civil service union organised a day of strike action in all workplaces in which it organises in protest at the sharply falling purchasing power of workers' pay. A steep decline in the Turkish Lira has led to much higher inflation, leaving the minimum wage effectively below the poverty level. The union wants to see legislation that will ensure the increasing cost of living is reflected in workers' pay on a monthly basis. During the day's strike action, KTAMS is organising a march to the parliament to present its proposals.