The need for the immediate adoption of an adequate minimum wage that will allow employees to live with dignity was discussed by the Plenary of the European Parliament on Tuesday, which is expected to vote on a relevant directive on Wednesday.
The Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, said the new rules will protect the dignity of work and protect pay while promoting collective bargaining. The measure is expected to benefit 24 million people in Europe, over 60% of whom are women.
He called on Member States to urgently implement the directive, once it is passed, sending a clear political message to adjust wages. He noted that the Commission is ready to help Member States, with a group of experts to help transpose the directive into national law.
In addition, he invited social partners to talk and take into account the price increases, in order to avoid a social crisis.
On behalf of the rapporteurs, S&D MEP Agnes Jongerius said that "perhaps the pandemic was necessary to make us realize the importance of the work of all those people who keep our society standing and that they deserve something better." "With a minimum wage one can live satisfactorily, but the wage must be sufficient," she added. She noted that there must be collective negotiations. "Member states should address the problem of union intimidation", she noted.
In their interventions MEPs spoke of a first but revolutionary step and called for pressure to be applied so that the new directive is adopted immediately by Member States, as inflation has reduced the purchasing value of wages.
Additionally, MEPs said the deal promotes stronger unions and collective agreements. However, they added it allows countries to decide how the minimum wage is determined, and in several cases, the wage proposed is not sufficient or is even lower than what is already in force in some Member States, such as Greece.
MEPs who oppose the passing of the directive for an adequate minimum wage, argued that there is a risk of unfair competition from third countries and that this will attract more immigrants. They also talked about an attempt by the EU to interfere in the labor market and to change the European social systems.
Cypriot MEP, Loucas Fourlas, expressed the need to protect working people and especially the young ones who are now entering the labor market, a press release by his office said.
"Working and having a salary that doesn't allow you to live a decent life is a gross injustice," stressed Fourlas, noting that the recent increase in prices in Europe has highlighted the need to ensure fair minimum wages in the EU.