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EU Commission launches second-stage consultation of social partners on fair minimum wages in the EU

Today, the Commission launches the second-stage consultation of European trade unions and employers’ organisations on how to ensure fair minimum wages for all workers in the European Union.

This follows the first-stage consultation which was open from 14 January to 25 February 2020, to which the Commission received replies from 23 EU-wide social partners. Based on the replies received, the Commission concluded that there is a need for further EU action.

The EU has been particularly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with negative effects on Member States’ economies, businesses, and the income of workers and their families. Ensuring that all workers in the EU earn a decent living is essential for the recovery as well as for building fair and resilient economies, and minimum wages have an important role to play.

The Commission does not aim to set a uniform European minimum wage, nor to harmonise minimum wage setting systems. Any possible measure would be applied differently depending on the minimum wage setting systems and traditions of the Member State, in full respect of national competencies and social partners’ contractual freedom.

Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for An Economy that Works for People, said: “As we work towards inclusive recovery from the coronavirus crisis, we want to make sure that all workers in the EU are protected by a fair minimum wage, allowing them to earn a decent living wherever they work.

Social partners play a crucial part in negotiating wages nationally and locally, and should be involved is setting minimum wages both in countries relying solely on collectively agreed wage floors and in those with a statutory minimum wage.”

Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, said: “One in six workers are classified as low-wage earners in the EU, and the majority of them are women. These workers kept our societies and economies alive when all else had to stop. But paradoxically, they will be hit the hardest by the crisis. Work towards an initiative on minimum wages in the EU is an essential element of our recovery strategy. Everyone deserves a decent standard of living.”

Marta Wieczorek –