CESI statement on first-phase EU social partner consultation on minimum wages

As part of its work programme for the year 2020, the European Commission is currently inquiring the possibility of an EU framework for minimum wages. In a first-phase social partner consultation statement, CESI made first concrete suggestions on an EU minimum wage framework should look like.

The main considerations for an EU framework for minimum wages raised by CESI in its consultation contribution include the following key aspects:

• A binding framework for minimum wages would represent an important commitment of the EU to the implementation of principle 6 on minimum wages of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

• Action at the EU level for a binding minimum wage framework is necessary especially in the context of increasing numbers of persons being economically active in new and atypical forms of work, including via subcontracting and in (outsourced) bogus and/or dependent self-employment (the ‘independent dependent’) in which the risk of wage exploitation tends to be high.

• EU level action for a binding minimum wage framework is also necessary in the context of the single market which should ensure that workers and employees are granted the minimum wage applicable in the country where they effectively work, and not the minimum wage of the member state in which the employer happens to have its seat on paper.

• The EU cross-sector social partners should strive to reach an ambitious framework among themselves first; however if negotiations are not possible or fail, the European Commission should put forward a legislative proposal for ambitious binding framework.

• Beyond an EU framework for minimum wages, the European Commission should take steps to strengthen social dialogue and social partner negotiations with the objective to increase the share of workers and employees covered by collective agreements. This could include soft measures such as assistance to capacity-building for trade unions as well as hard instruments award criteria for public procurement which take into consideration the coverage and respect of collective agreements.

CESI’s full consultation contribution is available here.