The trilogue negotiations between the European Commission, Council and Parliament have produced a provisional agreement on the Directive on Adequate Minimum Wages. It is now up to the Council and Parliament to vote on the proposal with the prospect that the Directive might be law by the autumn. The ETUC believes that the directive’s provisions on both statutory minimum wages and collective bargaining could be game changing, delivering not just vital increases for millions of workers who are facing surging prices but new rights and possibilities for trade unions to strengthen and extend collective bargaining. Meanwhile, as reported by ver.di, the German government has confirmed that the statutory minimum wage there will increase to €12.00 an hour in October this year. The current rate is €9.82 and it was already set to rise to €10.45 in July but the coalition government confirmed the further increase to €12.00 on 3 June. It is estimated that 8.6 million workers will benefit from the increase, two thirds of them women. The latest edition of the European Trade Union Institute’s Benchmarking Social Europe report (chapter 3 on wages and collective bargaining) includes details of trends in national minimum wages and collective bargaining coverage. It shows how many workers will benefit from a national minimum wage equivalent to the double threshold of at least 50% of average earnings and 60% of median earnings and the potential reduction in the gender pay gap. The report also shows the countries where collective bargaining coverage is less than 80% where the provisions on collective bargaining plans would be triggered.
ETUC calls for rapid agreement on minimum wage directive
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The ETUC wants to get down to work on the minimum wage directive following the long-awaited opinion from the EU Council's legal service. The opinion confirms what the ETUC has been arguing all along that a directive is possible and legally based on the protection of working conditions (Article 153(1)(b) TFEU in conjunction with Article 153(2) TFEU). The ETUC is now calling on governments to deliver and work towards a directive that will make it possible “for workers on minimum wages to make ends meet, to pay the rent, to put food on the table for them and their families.” The ETUC added: “The
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
The European Parliament has voted to begin the three-way negotiations with the European Council and Commission on the Adequate Minimum Wages Directive on the basis of the report supported by the Parliament’s Employment Committee on 11 November. The ETUC has called on the European Council to agree its general approach (vote likely on 6 December) so that the negotiations can begin as soon as possible. It argues that urgent action is needed to support the 9.5 million people across Europe struggling to pay their energy and other bills. The ETUC has also reiterated its demand that the directive