Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / World / Europe

EU votes in favor of minimum wage rules

By JONATHAN POWELL in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-09-16 10:12
Share - WeChat
The European Parliament in session, in Strasbourg, France, September 14, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

The European Parliament has voted in favor of new legislation that aims to guarantee adequate minimum wages for workers across the 27-nation bloc and strengthen their collective bargaining powers.

Lawmakers in Strasbourg on Wednesday debated a deal that was negotiated with European Union member states in June. In voting, 505 members of Parliament were in favor, while 92 votes were against and there were 44 abstentions.

Agnes Jongerius, a lawmaker from the Socialists and Democrats group and co-rapporteur of the directive, welcomed the adoption of the bill, saying that it "sets the standards for what an adequate minimum wage should look like", reported the Associated Press news agency.

"Prices for groceries, energy bills and housing are exploding. People are really struggling to make ends meet. We have no time to waste, work must pay again," said Jongerius.

The directive will now be formally adopted, giving member states two years to implement it in national law.

Euractiv news website quoted Mounir Satouri, a Green member of European Parliament, or MEP, as saying that "thanks to this directive, 25 million workers will see their salary increase by 20 percent," and adding that this would also erode some of the gender pay gap between men and women in Europe.

AP noted data from the EU that showed across the bloc, the minimum wage varies, with the highest in Luxembourg, Ireland and Germany, and the lowest in Bulgaria, Latvia and Estonia.

The legislation will require member countries to guarantee "that their national minimum wages allow workers to lead a decent life, taking into account the cost of living and wider pay levels," the Parliament said in a statement, adding that it will apply to all EU workers who have an employment contract or employment relationship.

It said the new law also promotes collective bargaining for pay in countries where fewer than 80 percent of workers are covered by the process.

Most member states will now have to find ways to increase their collective bargaining coverage, which means strengthening trade unions, said Euractiv.

Hungarian socialist MEP, Klara Dobrev, said it is the "end of an era "in Europe.

"For decades, European countries have competed among themselves where workers are cheaper, where they are vulnerable, and that was a so-called advantage," Dobrev told Euronews. "And this is the end of an era when competitiveness is measured by a cheap and vulnerable labour force."

Green MEP and co-chair Ska Keller told Euronews that the introduction of the new law was vital in the current cost of living crisis.

"This directive is a very, very important step in order to tackle the structural poverty that we see in the European Union," Keller said.

She added: "There are so many people who struggle to make ends meet even before we talk about inflation, even before we talk about sky-rocketing energy prices. So, it's very important to get a structural change there into place. This will benefit millions of European citizens."


Most Viewed in 24 Hours
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349