Friday, December 8, 2023

Nordic countries disagree with EU over minimum wage

European Commissioner-designate in charge of Jobs, Nicolas Schmit from Luxembourg attends his confirmation hearing before the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, 30 October 2019.

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Nordic nations were not happy about the European Commission’s plans to introduce an EU-wide minimum wage framework.
As they do not have a minimum wage, Denmark, Sweden and Finland fear the measure could undermine their long-established models. Salaries in these countries are negotiated between unions and employers and are generally higher than in other EU countries.
Last year, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said she would introduce a framework for minimum wages throughout the Union, which could lead to a new law. She, however, promised to respect the differences between individual labour markets.
EU Commissioner for jobs and social rights Nicolas Schmit said on 14 January that a consultation on the plans had started, aiming to tackle the issue of workers in some countries earning much less for similar tasks than in others.
“The Commission is in listening mode: we want to know whether social partners believe EU action is needed, and if so, if they wish to negotiate it between themselves”, The Commission stated after consultations with businesses and trade unions, and promised the results will be incorporated into an action plan in 2021.
The Danish employment minister tweeted that, even though there was a great need for social convergence across Europe, this must be done “without undermining collective bargaining models that work”.
“I’ve had a lot of discussions with Swedish and also the Danish labor unions, employers and also the Swedish and Danish governments. So it will be very clear that in a future legal text, we will assure there are all kinds of provisions which make clear that the collective bargaining system, as it functions in Sweden, in Denmark and maybe in some other countries, is absolutely protected”, Schmit said.
He added said that his ideas for the framework were more focused on some EU states that already have a minimum wage, but it does not guarantee a dignified standard of living.

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