Adoption of the Minimum Wages Directive, a socialist success!

Adoption of the Minimum Wages Directive, a socialist success!

MEP Agnes Jongerius (L) and European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit

MEPs vote means EU Directive for adequate minimum wages will come into force

European socialists today celebrate a great victory in their fight to ensure work pays across Europe after the European Parliament voted to greenlight new EU rules on minimum wages.

Decent minimum wages across Europe, together with the reinforcement of collective bargaining, was a key demand of the Party of European Socialists (PES) during the 2019 European elections campaign. As the TV debate between our Spitzenkandidat Frans Timmermans and the EPP’s Mandfred Weber revealed, we had a tough fight to impose minimum wages on the Commission’s agenda.

Today, the EU Directive for adequate minimum wages – proposed by socialist European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit and championed in the European Parliament by S&D MEP and Chair of the PES Social European Network Agnes Jongerius – was endorsed by MEPs, in plenary. This confirms the agreement found between Parliament and Council back in June and successfully concludes the adoption of the Directive

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“We have fought for this day for many years. EU rules to secure decent minimum wages across Europe are long-overdue.

“This is a boost for underpaid workers at a time when they face a cost-of-living crisis. This Directive is a powerful tool to raise wages at a time when low paid workers are worrying about getting to the end of the month.

“I am also pleased that this Directive enhances the role of trade unions in the wage setting process. In many Member States there is a strong tradition of collective bargaining, and it is right not only to protect that, but also to promote the further development of this system. Stronger collective bargaining means, amongst other, better pay for workers.

“On behalf of the PES, I thank Commissioner Schmit and MEP Jongerius for their hard work. This is a major milestone for European social policy. We will keep up the pressure for a fast implementation of the Directive and make sure work pays in the EU.”

Under the new rules – endorsed today by MEPs and by the Council of the EU back in June – national minimum wages will be set at a level allowing workers to lead a decent life, taking into account the cost of living and wider pay levels. To set this level, EU countries may establish a basket of goods and services at real prices, or set it at 60% of the gross median wage and 50% of the gross average wage. In countries where fewer than 80% of workers are covered by collective bargaining, Member States will have to establish an action plan to increase this figure.

The PES strongly welcomed the political agreement on the Directive reached in June.

The push for EU action to secure decent minimum wages was included as far back as the 2009 PES manifesto.