Socialist success as deal reached on EU Directive for adequate minimum wages

Socialist success as deal reached on EU Directive for adequate minimum wages

A main PES priority of the 2019 European Elections campaign, the Directive will help millions of low paid workers across Europe just as citizens contend with climbing living costs.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“This deal comes not a moment too soon. It has been more than 10 years in the making. We began this fight in 2009, and today we can celebrate a provisional deal. It is now important for this agreement to be endorsed at the June EPSCO and the European Parliament plenary. This is what Europe’s workers deserve.

“Europe would not be at this point without the leadership of our political family.  PES 2019 Spitzenkandidat Frans Timmermans pushed the idea of minimum wages in the elections campaign, EU Commissioner Nicolas Schmit put forward the legislation, EP co-rapporteur Agnes Jongerius negotiated it with the Council.”

Co-rapporteur, PvdA MEP and Chair of the PES Social Europe Network, Agnes Jongerius, said:

“For the shop assistants, parcel deliverers or the agricultural workers, we have achieved a good deal after challenging negotiations. We have opened the door to better wages for Europe’s lowest paid workers.

“This agreement is a big step forward for fair pay. This Directive will make work pay. The Directive defines clear criteria when setting statutory minimum wages, taking into account the cost of living and purchasing power. It strengthens workers to collectively bargain on wages too, and supports the vital role of trade unions in this. When the collective bargaining coverage rate is below 80% in a Member State, a national action plan is required to progressively increase this coverage.  This way, more workers will get the protection of a collective agreement. This is the best way to fight in-work poverty.  And critically, this Directive makes it clear that minimum wages must contribute to decent working and living conditions, reducing wage inequality and upward social convergence.”

At the last European elections in 2019, PES Spitzenkandidat Frans Timmermans pushed minimum wages during the European elections debate. Now we are delivering on our election promise to workers.

Following the formation of the current European Commission, the Directive was put forward by a socialist European Commissioner, Nicolas Schmit, in 2020. And guided through the European Parliament in 2021 by a Socialist and Democrat MEP, Agnes Jongerius.

The deal reached today represents a key milestone in a decades long socialist fight for fair wages. The call for the Directive was first made in the PES manifesto for the 2009 European elections. It stated: “We propose a European pact on wages, guaranteeing equal pay for equal work and setting out the need for decent minimum wages in all EU Member States, agreed either by law or through collective bargaining and applying both to citizens and migrant workers. Social rights include the right to a fair level playing field for workers”.