The minimum wage is to be increased by 11.1% taking it to around 30 000 Serbian dinars a month (EUR 255). The unions had called for an increase of 24.5% to bring it in line with trends in the cost of living while the employers were looking at only 6%-10%. A deal couldn't be reached in tripartite dialogue and so the government acted unilaterally, while also lowering certain taxes on wages and benefits that employers have to pay. The minister of finance also announced a planned 5% increase for all public companies from 1 January 2020.
Minimum wage rise well below union target
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The UGT confederation has launched a campaign for a minimum wage of €1000 a month. This target was discussed earlier this year with the CCOO confederation and the PSOE socialist party. The UGT has set the target for negotiations in collective agreements and also to achieve for the national minimum wage by 2020. The confederation argues that the figure is entirely justified with 3.5% economic growth and businesses now seeing profits and dividends at pre-crisis levels. At the same time average salaries are more than 5% below their 2009 level in real terms.
The first pay offer from the employers in the AVEU regional negotiations covering mainly energy companies is some way off the pay claim submitted by the unions. Services union ver.di is aiming for a 6.1% pay increase over 12 months with a EUR 150 a month increase for trainees. The union conducted a broad consultation of members and there was clear support for a pay rise that compensated for inflation and increased productivity and that would give workers a share of the economic success of companies in the sector. In contrast, the employers have offered a 27-month deal with two increases of 2.1
A new report from the WSI trade-union linked research organisation provides an overview of recent developments in statutory minimum wages with 19 of the 22 in the EU seeing an increase in 2017 or beginning of 2018 - the exceptions being in Greece, Germany and Luxembourg.The 4.4% average nominal increase is the second largest since 2009. The report found that most of the larger increases were in Central and Eastern Europe. In Western Europe the minmum wage rate was mainly above EUR 9.40 an hour with the exceptions of the UK and Germany.