PES employment ministers reiterate call for fair wages for all

06/07/2021

PES EPSCO meeting by videoconference

PES EPSCO meeting by videoconference

Every worker in Europe must have access to strengthened collective bargaining and adequate minimum wages, employment and social affairs ministers from the PES stated today as they pledged action to end exploitative low pay.

Progressive ministers met online to coordinate on the Adequate Minimum Wages Directive proposed by European Commissioner Nicolas Schmit, follow up on the Porto Social Summit, and discuss health and safety at work.

Meeting Chair and Portuguese Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, said:

“We know that exploitation of workers is still a reality in Europe. This situation is wrong, and we are determined to do something about it.

“Every worker should have access to collective bargaining and adequate wages. This requires action in Member States and at the EU level, always in full respect of national wage-setting systems.

“Progress on this ambition has been made with the proposed Directive on Adequate Minimum Wages. We will keep up the pressure as the next Presidency of the Council begins. We must find agreement on this, without any watering down. This is what workers deserve.

“With the Social Pillar, the Action Plan, and the Porto Summit we have real momentum on social rights, and we are determined for this to follow through for progress on fair wages too.”

Socialists are pushing hard for EU action on fair wages. European Commissioner Nicolas Schmit is leading on this within the Commission and, thanks to the hard work of Agnes Jongerius MEP and others, the S&D is pushing for an ambitious position from the European Parliament.

Ministers also exchanged on the Porto Social Summit and the commitments made to address social issues in Europe. Alongside specific policies like the Pay Transparency Directive proposed by Commissioner Helena Dalli, the European platform on homelessness recently launched in Lisbon and the European Child Guarantee, socialists will continue fighting to upgrade social priorities within the EU’s governance. It is imperative that the Europe Semester better aligns with the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

The meeting also held a first exchange on progressive priorities for the newly announced new EU strategic framework for health and safety at work.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Ana Mendes Godinho, Chair and Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Portugal
  • Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, European Commission
  • Tomas Novotny, Deputy Vice Minister, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Czech Republic
  • Dr Rolf Schmachtenberg, State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Germany
  • Andrea Orlando, Minister of Labour and Social Protection, Italy
  • Romain Schneider, Minister of Social Security, Luxemburg
  • Pedro Marques, Member of the European Parliament, Vice-president of the S&D Group in the EP, PES-S&D Coordinator on the implementation of the progressive Commission work programme
  • Agnes Jongerius, EMPL Coordinator, S&D Group in the European Parliament, Chair of PES Social Europe Network
  • Luca Visentini, General Secretary, ETUC
  • Esther Lynch, Deputy Secretary General, ETUC
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES