MEPs validate their position for “adequate” minimum wages: the dossier should have little impact in Belgium

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The mandate was approved in plenary with 443 votes in favor, 192 against and 58 abstentions.

The proposal was put on the table by the Commission in October 2020. The text does not propose to establish a European minimum wage, which would moreover be outside the competences of the EU. But it is trying to establish a framework for Member States to promote social dialogue on this subject, with the aim, among other things, that existing minimum wages be raised to ensure a decent standard of living.

“In the majority of Member States with national statutory minimum wages, these are too low compared to other wages or are not sufficient to ensure a decent life”, the Commission noted in autumn 2020. Another problem is their scope is sometimes too restrictive, which therefore leaves certain categories of workers in the background.

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The directive would introduce the obligation for countries where collective wage negotiations only concern a small minority of workers to provide for an action plan to promote such negotiations. Parliament’s vision goes a little further than that of the Commission in the sense that it would like to extend this obligation to more countries.

Where there is a minimum wage fixed by law, the State should make known clear criteria for fixing its amount and for its regular updating.

The Council (Member States) has yet to adopt its position on this text.

As Groen MEP Sara Matthieu pointed out on Thursday, the issue should have little impact in Belgium where minimum wages are regulated by collective labor agreements. “This proposal especially encourages other Member States to start collective wage negotiations with the social partners, as in Belgium”.

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