New Directive Promotes Collective Bargaining and Ties Politicians’ Hands to ‘Lower’ Stipend
The European Parliament voted on a directive regulating the sensitive topic of the minimum wage (MW) in EU countries. The goal of the new rules in each member state is to ensure “decent living and working standards and to encourage collective bargaining on pay,” the EP’s press release states.
The directive stipulates that when determining the specific amount, each country should make an “adequacy assessment” of the minimum wage, taking into account the level of prices and labor income. Data on the prices of a basket of goods and services at real prices can be used in this assessment. The other options are that the SALW be increased by the average gross salary in the country and be 50% of it, or that it be 60% of the gross median salary.
Currently in the EU, 21 out of 27 countries have a statutory minimum wage, while in the remaining six – Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Italy and Sweden – wage levels are determined by collective bargaining. The lowest minimum wage (BGN 770) is in Bulgaria, followed by Latvia and Estonia, and the highest minimum wages are in Luxembourg, Ireland and Germany.
“The new directive will apply to all workers in the EU who have an employment contract or an employment relationship. Countries where the minimum wage is already protected exclusively by collective labor agreements will not be obliged to introduce these rules,” the EP specified. However, Bulgaria will have to do its homework, since collective bargaining is not very well supported in our country, and the WCA is determined by the governments in a rather subjective way. The deadline for implementation of the directive is 2 years.
“Collective bargaining at sectoral and cross-sectoral level is a key factor in achieving adequate minimum wages. In countries where collective bargaining covers less than 80% of workers, Member States together with the social partners will have to draw up an action plan to increasing its scope, says the MEPs’ decision.In addition, EU countries are expected to establish a control system, including on-the-spot checks and inspections, to counter abuse of subcontractors, fictitious self-employment, unregistered overtime or increased work intensity.
“Food prices, energy bills and housing prices are exploding. People are really struggling to make ends meet. We have no time to waste, work has to be paid again. This directive sets the standards for what an adequate minimum wage should look like .At the same time, we are giving a boost to collective bargaining, so more workers will be better protected,” commented MEP Agnes Jongerius.