European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans on Monday (6 May) called for each EU member to have a minimum wage equivalent to 60% of its median salary to reduce the bloc’s growing wealth gap.
All but six of the European Union’s 28 states already have a legal minimum wage, though levels vary starkly.
“We need a minimum wage in the European Union,” the Dutch politician, a socialist candidate for the top EU job in this month’s elections, said at a public debate in Warsaw.
✅ A decent minimum wage in every member state
✅ A fair contract for young people in the gig economy
✅ Social rights for every European worker
✅ A strong role for trade unions to negotiate better pay and conditions
✅ Better wages in Eastern Europe
❓Are you with me❓ pic.twitter.com/dHGhkoOw5x
— Frans Timmermans (@TimmermansEU) April 29, 2019
“Sixty percent of the median wage in every member state, I mean,” he added.
In 2017, Eurostat data showed a range of minimum wages from Bulgaria’s 460 leva (€235 euros) a month gross to €1,999 in Luxembourg — or nine times as much.
22 of the 28 Member States of the European Union have national minimum wages, ranging from under 300 euros/month in 🇧🇬 Bulgaria to just above 2 000 euros/month in 🇱🇺 Luxembourg
— EU_Eurostat (@EU_Eurostat) January 31, 2019
Though the discrepancy shrinks to around a factor of three when the cost of living in each state is taken into account.
In 2016, the average rate of compensation of employees in the EU, in terms of wages, salaries and employers' social contributions, ranged from €44 per hour worked, in the Brussels city region and in Luxembourg, to below €4 per hour worked in three regions in Bulgaria pic.twitter.com/CTyKz4EM1E
— Eduardo Oliveira (@eduardo_liveira) March 22, 2019
Opponents of the minimum wage see the policy as dragging down competitiveness, sovereignty as well as levelling down salaries.
The six EU members without an official minimum, which have their own arrangements to cover the basic needs of low earners are Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Italy and Sweden.