Members of the FNV trade union are in the process of voting on whether to support the agreement covering the municipal sector that was negotiated last month. The agreement provides for a 1.5% pay increase from 1 December 2021 and a further increase of 2.4% from 1 April 2022. There will also be a €1200 lump sum paid, €900 of which is pensionable and €300 of which reflects a COVID bonus. Also the agreement commits municipalities to guarantee a €14 an hour minimum wage from 1 January 2022. There are several other elements to the agreement including a working-from-home allowance and measures
Low pay/minimum wages
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
An analysis by the ETUC shows that higher minimum wages across Europe could have a massive impact on the gender pay gap. The ETUC has been calling for a double threshold – 50% of the average wage/60% of the median wage – to be used in the directive on Adequate Minimum Wages. If this were in force then the gender pay gap would be cut by 25% in Romania, by 19% in Greece, by 12% in Poland, by 11% in Slovakia and by 10% in Spain and Luxembourg. The ETUC underlines that many women are trapped in underpaid and undervalued jobs and make up 76% of the 49 million care workers in the EU. The pay
The KNSB trade union confederation has published 22 demands on a range of issues that would boost pay and welfare benefits and help address poverty and the impact of soaring energy costs. Bearing in mind the discussions at European level about a minimum wage that should be at least 50% of the average wage and 60% of the median wage, the KNSB is looking for the minimum wage to rise to €700 as soon as possible and to €764 by the beginning of 2022. The confederation is also calling for wage rises across the economy and specifically for public sector workers an increase of at least 12.5% in 2022.
The ITUC global trade union confederation has noted the significance of the recent award of the Nobel prize for economics to David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens. Their key research in the 1990s demonstrated that higher minimum wages do not mean fewer jobs, providing a powerful counter-argument to the often heard claims of employers and many governments about the negative effects of minimum wages. The ITUC argues that this prize is a serious indictment of many economists in that it has taken some 30 years for the facts to be given prominence over a damaging and groundless idea. It added
An ETUC analysis shows that almost three million people low-paid workers across Europe can’t afford to heat their homes. The ETUC estimates that even before expected further increases in energy prices 15% of Europe’s working poor won’t be able to turn on the heating – equivalent to 2,713,578 people across Europe. The analysis also shows that the situation has deteriorated in 10 EU member states over the last decade. With the directive on adequate minimum wages now being discussed in the European Council and Parliament, the ETUC argues that energy price rises make strong EU action on wages even
Some public service federations will be joining their private sector colleagues in a national demonstration on 5 October calling for an increase in salaries and the minimum wage. The unions note that private company profits are surging along with dividends to shareholders while workers are facing higher prices, not least for energy. In the public sector, workers are facing another year of a freeze on the index that determines salary levels with the government again having to adjust the lowest salary levels just to ensure that they don’t fall below the minimum wage.
An analysis by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) reveals that workers receiving poverty-level pay are among the 35 million of the poorest Europeans who can’t afford a summer holiday. Overall, 28% of EU citizens can’t afford a one-week holiday away from home – but that rises to 59.5% for people whose income is below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold (60% of the median). The worst situation is in Greece where 88.9% of people living at risk of poverty couldn’t afford a break, followed by Romania (86.8%), Croatia (84.7%), Cyprus (79.2%) and Slovakia (76.1%). The ETUC says that many
On 5 July a group of 13 Romanian trade unionists arrived in Brussels after a four-day rolling protest from Bucharest over the low wages that force many of their fellow citizens to make similar journeys to find decent work. The “Caravan of Social Rights” stopped in Budapest, Vienna, Munich and Luxembourg along the way to stage protests outside Romanian embassies with the support of local trade unions. GDP per capita in Romania is now 72% of the EU average, but Romanian workers’ pay is just 28% of the EU average and the minimum wage is just €281 a month when the cost of living is €572 a month
Public services union vpod/ssp has welcomed the referendum result which means that the Basel city region will implement a minimum wage of CHF 21 (EUR 19.20) per hour. The regional government will have to implement the result, including in public companies. The vpod says that the region pays some of its employees below the subsistence level, even though it supported the introduction of a minimum wage. The regional government must now start talks with the vpod’s Basel region and other social partners in order to implement the initiative quickly. The union argues that it is not just wages below
The Eurofound research agency’s overview of minimum wage increases in 2021 finds lower increases than in 2020 but still with six countries in Central and Eastern Europe – Latvia, Slovenia, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Lithuania – increasing rates by over 5%. Increases of 1%-5% were recorded in 11 Member States while rates were frozen in Belgium, Spain, Greece and Estonia. However, the cross-sector negotiations in Belgium recently included a commitment to increase the minimum in stages over the next six years. The median increase this year across Europe at 3% is well below the 8.4% figure for