In the summer, the EU countries and the European Parliament
agreed upon uniform standards for minimum wages in the EU. The legal text
includes standards covering how statutory minimum wages should be defined,
updated and implemented. EU countries will have to define action plans for
increasing collective bargaining coverage in the future. After two years of negotiations the political straitjacket was
far tighter than many had presumed during the run-up to the negotiations.
Minimum wages in the EU have been politically sealed
Negotiations about the EU Minimum Wage Directive with the
European Commission and the Council were concluded on the night of June 7 and an institutional
agreement was also realised. The Council adopted the agreed text on June 16 by
qualified majority and out of the EU-27, only Sweden and Denmark voted against
it and Hungary abstained.
The Council formally approved the dossier in October after
it had been approved in the European Parliament in September. The Members of Parliament voted on
the trialogue result with 505 votes in favour, 92 against and
A more social Europe is the objective
The Directive aims to improve the working and living
conditions of all workers in the EU and to bring about economic and social
progress. The new rules set minimum requirements for the adequacy of statutory
minimum wages provided for in national legislation or collective agreements and
they also ensure that workers will have more effective access to minimum wage
The Directive includes regulations that will promote collective
bargaining. This means that member states must define action plans for
increasing collective bargaining coverage if it is below 80 per cent.
Europe-wide procedural standards for defining, updating and implementing
statutory minimum wages were also established.
EU member states now have two years to implement the
directive's provisions. However, this could still change because of the current
economic and energy crisis. Due to the current wave of inflation, citizens
across Europe are already demanding quick solutions that will be immediately be
noticed in their own wallets.