EU minimum wage

Positions for trilogue fixed

Foto: European Parliament (EP)

In plenary, the European Parliament supported the negotiating mandate of co-rapporteurs Radtke and Jongerius on the directive on adequate minimum wages.

At the Employment and Social Policy Council on December 6, the Council approved the latest compromise proposal of the Slovenian Presidency.

  • The European Parliament's negotiating mandate has been approved.
  • The Council's general approach is almost clear and will be voted on in early December.
  • It promises to be a difficult interinstitutional negotiation. The proposals of the Council and the European Parliament are far apart.

Position European Parliament

The European Parliament adopted the proposal of the co-rapporteurs Dennis Radtke and Agnes Jongerius and this text considerably strengthens the Commission's original proposal.

  • Extension of collective bargaining coverage to 80%
  • Deletion of the article that allowed deductions from the minimum wage (does not mean, however, that this would then be prohibited)
  • Inclusion of the international criteria for calculating wage adequacy, namely 60% of the national median wage and 50% of the national average wage. This is a possibility, not an obligation.
  • Introduction of the concept of a decency threshold
  • Modifications of the measurement criteria
  • Specification of criterion related to purchasing power
  • Introduction of the notion of in-work poverty
  • Deletion of the criterion of worker productivity
  • Safeguarding national competences by clarifying the different types of minimum wages (statutory minimum wage, access to wage formation through collective bargaining and universal collective agreements)
  • Stepping up the fight against all forms of discrimination against trade union members and against all forms of action against collective bargaining
  • Replace the term 'workers' organisation' with the term 'trade union' in order to counter abuses by workers' organisations set up by employers to undermine collective bargaining
  • Strengthening labour inspectorates and stepping up checks with adequate resources
  • Equal application of these rules to wages in the private and public sector (e.g. in the award of public contracts)

Position European Council

After a long discussion, the European council confirmed at the Employment and Social Policy Council on 6 December the latest proposal of the Slovenian Council Presidency. The latest Slovenian proposal, which softens the original Commission proposal almost to its entirety, will form the Council's 'general approach', which serves as the starting point for interinstitutional negotiations with the European Parliament.

Proposals of the Council:

  • Amendment of the title of the text to emphasise that this text primarily establishes a European framework to strengthen national minimum wages
  • Clarification of the differences between statutory minimum wages, minimum wages negotiated by social partners and hybrid systems
  • Fixing the coverage of collective bargaining at the 70% threshold and stipulating that this threshold is an indication and not an aim in itself
  • Granting more flexibility in the choice of indicative reference amounts as regards how to assess the adequacy of minimum wages
  • Leaving it to Member States to assess the scope for variations and deductions from the statutory minimum wage, provided that the principles of proportionality and non-discrimination are respected
  • Relaxation of the conditions for data collection Report on the situation of the minimum wage every two years.

Liese Dewilde (VLEVA)

Read the original article in Dutch language here.