ETUC Executive Committee members have voted by a large majority in support of the Confederation's submission to the European Commission's second stage consultation on fair minimum wages. In the submission, the ETUC calls for a directive that sets a minimum level for national minimum wages across Europe and introduces measures to strengthen and promote collective bargaining. The document also underlines the importance of not introducing any provisions that might undermine industrial relations systems where collective bargaining is strong and where social partners do not support the introduction of legal minimum wages. The vote was 85% in favour. The vote in the EPSU Executive Committee was also over 80% with 39 votes in favour, eight against and no abstentions. The ETUC has also released data showing how EU countries with the lowest levels of collective bargaining have the lowest pay levels.
ETUC affiliates back call for directive on minimum wages
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As the debate continues during the first phase consultation over the European Commission's proposals on fair minimum wages, the ETUC is highlighting the need for a major boost to legal minimum wages across Europe. It argues that in most of the 22 EU member states with a statutory national minimum wage it fails to meet even the minimal at risk-of-poverty wage threshold of 60% of the median wage. In 10 member states, the statutory minimum is 50% or less of the national median wage.
On 3 June the European Commission launched the second stage consultation on potential legislation on fair minimum wages. EPSU convened an online working group on 19 June to discuss the key issues and the draft response to the consultation from the ETUC. There were 29 participants from EPSU affiliates in 15 countries.
The FPSU trade union confederation has called on the government to raise the minimum wage to keep it in line with calculations of a living wage. It argues that in 2017 the two-stage increase of the minimum wage to UAH 3200 (EUR 104) was positive for both the standard of living and economic growth. However, this January's increase to UAH 3723 (EUR 121) was inadequate to keep pace with the living wage which had already risen to UAH 4011 (EUR 130) and was at UAH 4213 (EUR 137) by April. According to the FPSU around 20% of workers are classified as poor and the average wage at EUR 262 is only