Adequate minimum wages directive

EESC opinion: Adequate minimum wages directive

Key points


  • strongly supports the underlined goal for Europe to lead the way from fragility towards a new vitality by creating opportunities and prosperity by promoting innovation, sustainable growth and fair competition, in order to stimulate upward economic and social convergence;
  • agrees with the overall objectives of achieving adequate minimum wages and strengthening collective bargaining systems across the EU, making work pay, fighting poverty, and strengthening the role of social partners and social dialogue, in line with national industrial relations systems;
  • agrees with the overall objectives of the proposal and expects that it is carefully designed to respect national traditions, laws and practices, and that it leaves discretion for adaptation to the domestic context in its obligations;
  • states that the social partners should be autonomous and employers' organisations and trade unions should be protected from any form of restriction of their right to organise, represent or take collective action. At the same time, the EESC reiterates the importance of joint actions and capacity-building programmes at European and national level managed directly by the European and national social partners;
  • supports the objective of increasing collective bargaining coverage, according to national laws and practices and in full respect of and compliance with the division of competences and autonomy of social partners;
  • believes that national action plans could play a crucial role in upward wage convergence and in establishing the most appropriate measures and mechanisms for wage setting and increasing coverage at national level, also in order to close the gender and age pay gap and reduce inequalities and discrimination, with particular attention to young workers;
  • recommends that any national action plan shall be designed by social partners and agreed in a tripartite process;
  • recognises that in countries where a self-regulatory collective bargaining system exists, which ensures fair and adequate wage floors, together with other agreed working conditions, any intervention of the State should be avoided in order to safeguard/preserve a well-functioning industrial relations system, which is able by itself to guarantee the achievement of the objectives set in the proposed directive;
  • believes that the representativeness of social partners is an important factor, as it guarantees their democratic mandate. Different criteria exist which could represent good practice to be considered in designing action plans according to national laws and practices. There is a number of complex factors/criteria that could be taken into account when assessing the representativeness of social partners at national level, bearing in mind that they vary across the Member States.