Minimum Wages & Collective Bargaining: EU Directive shows the way forward

The European Parliament has adopted the directive on minimum wages and collective bargaining, which now enters into EU law. UNI Europa celebrates the concrete steps towards strengthening democracy at work.

Oliver Roethig, Regional Secretary of UNI Europa, said:

“This directive is an important step forward. It opens the path towards a Europe in which everyone can work in dignity and afford a decent life. Most importantly, it assigns a central role to collective bargaining.

Collective bargaining is the main tool with which working people obtain improvements on pay and conditions. That’s why the new target of reaching 80% is so important. Member States will have to present national action plans towards reaching this objective.

Corporations can no longer be allowed to undercut competition by silencing their workers and attacking their pay and conditions. This must mark a turning point for Europe. The only way they will get there is by establishing sectoral collective bargaining. The services sector accounts for the largest workforce and suffers from relatively low collective bargaining. It will need special attention to reach 80%.

To achieve the EU’s new target, action will be needed. This includes at EU level, where public procurement legislation will need to be fixed so that corporations are no longer incentivized to undermine collective bargaining. Public contracts with private corporations account for 14% of the EU’s GDP.

We call for no public contract without collective bargaining. This simple change can ensure that the fundamental right to collective bargaining of the workers in these companies is guaranteed. It is the lowest hanging fruit and the easiest instrument for the EU to take action towards its new goal.

The EU has today taken a major stride in the right direction. It must now give the impulse by requiring that all public contracts require collective bargaining.”