Adequate and sufficient minimum wages for working people in the European Union. This is what the Labor Ministers of the 27 have approved this Monday in the Employment and Social Policy Council (EPSCO). And it is also what the European Parliament approved on November 25, with the vote against the MEPs of Pablo Casado’s PP, who distanced themselves from the official position of the popular Europeans. To such an extent was the official position of the conservative European family, that the German CDU Dennis Radtke He has been a co-proponent of the standard.
“We have taken an important step and moved from words to action on the dignity of work across the EU. This directive is a game changer in the fight for a stronger Social Europe,” German conservative Radtke said of a rule that the Spanish PP voted against, along with the extreme right of Vox.
Indeed, the European Parliament approved last November 25 the opening of negotiations on a directive that guarantees all workers in the EU a fair and adequate minimum wage.
MEPs confirmed the negotiating mandate agreed in the parliamentary committee on Employment and Social Affairs, with 443 votes in favor, 192 against and 58 abstentions. Talks with the Council can begin now, while the Member States have just adopted their negotiating position this Monday in Brussels.
The draft directive on the minimum wage aims to establish minimum requirements to guarantee a minimum income that gives workers and their families a decent standard of living. This can be achieved by setting a minimum wage by law or by allowing workers to negotiate their wages with employers in collective bargaining systems.
The European Parliament has asked to strengthen and extend the coverage of collective bargaining by forcing Member States where less than 80% of workers are covered by this type of agreement to take measures to promote this instrument of social dialogue.
The Council, for its part, has agreed on Monday its position, in which they defend “fair wages that guarantee a decent standard of living”, something that is “one of the principles of the European pillar of social rights. To improve the conditions of work and life, this bill establishes a framework to promote adequate levels of legal minimum wages, promote collective bargaining on wage setting, and improve effective access to minimum wage protection for those workers who are entitled to a wage. minimum”.
“Since we are celebrating the Spanish Constitution in our country,” said the Vice President and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, upon her arrival at the Council in Brussels, “we are also going to celebrate Article 35 of our Constitution here, which, as you know, speaks of sufficient, decent wages for workers and their families. And today Europe will probably take a very important step by taking forward the minimum wage directive in which the Government of Spain has worked for many months, giving a strong boost to that social Europe more necessary than ever “.
“Countries with high collective bargaining coverage tend to have a smaller proportion of workers with low wages and higher minimum wages than those with low collective bargaining coverage,” say the 27: “Ministers have agreed that countries should promote strengthening the capacity of social partners to participate in collective bargaining. If their collective bargaining coverage is less than 70%, they should also establish an action plan to promote collective bargaining. ”
In order to promote the adequacy of statutory minimum wages and thus achieve “decent living and working conditions, Member States with statutory minimum wages are tasked with establishing a procedural framework to establish and update these. minimum wages in accordance with a set of stable and clear conditions: legal minimum wages will be updated periodically and in a timely manner. Furthermore, their amount may be adjusted through automatic indexation mechanisms, “say the 27.
The Council recognizes that “in the EU there are large differences between Member States in the coverage of workers by collective agreements and the level of minimum wages. This is also the effect of very different labor market models in Member States. Respecting these differences, the bill establishes a procedural framework to promote better and more effective protection of the minimum wage in all member states.
The European Commission presented its proposal in October 2020, and it already recognized the freedom of member states to set minimum wages or not by law, while there are some who do not. But he did ask that they be “worthy and proper.”
From now on, negotiations begin between the Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission to agree on a final text.