The Commission launches the second-stage consultation
of European trade unions and employers’ organisations on how to ensure fair minimum wages for all workers in the European Union. This follows the first-stage consultation which was open from 14 January to 25 February 2020, to which the Commission received replies from 23 EU-wide social partners. Based on the replies received, the Commission concluded that there is a need for further EU action. Already a political priority for the von der Leyen Commission, recent events have further cemented demand for EU efforts to reduce rising wage inequalities and in-work poverty.
Minimum wages that are appropriately negotiated with social partners, complied with and updated can:
- Provide vulnerable workers with a financial buffer in case of hard times
- Create greater incentives to work, thereby improving productivity
- Reduce wage inequalities in society
- Increase domestic demand, and the resilience of the economy
- Help close the gender pay gap
The second-stage consultation document sets out possible avenues for EU action to ensure that minimum wages are set at adequate levels and protect all workers. Collective bargaining has a critical role to play, as underlined by social partners’ replies to the first-stage consultation. Therefore, the EU initiative would aim to ensure that:
- Well-functioning collective bargaining in wage-setting is in place;
- National frameworks allow for statutory minimum wages to be set and regularly updated according to clear and stable criteria;
- Social partners are effectively involved in statutory minimum wage setting to support minimum wage adequacy;
- Minimum wage variations and exemptions are eliminated or limited;
- National minimum wage frameworks are effectively complied with and monitoring mechanisms are in place.
Social partners are invited to respond to the questions in the consultation by 4 September 2020. This includes what sort of instrument would be most appropriate. The Commission is considering both legislative and non-legislative instruments, i.e. a Directive in the area of working conditions, and a Council Recommendation.
You can find additional information: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_979
Source: European Commission