Published on 5th May 2021
The World Employment Confederation-Europe is joining 9 other European sectoral employers organisations in expressing concerns about the implications of the proposal for a Directive on adequate minimum wages on the role of Social Partners and on statutory minimum wages. As representatives of sectoral employers, strongly engaged in social dialogue at national and EU level, the organisations are committed to continuously improve the working conditions of their employees and share the Commission’s objectives in introducing such a legislative proposal.
Yet, in a joint statement released on May 5th, the 10 European sectoral employers organisations point out that the Commission’s proposal does not respect two core principles underpinning the European social market economy: the autonomous role of employers representatives in collective bargaining at national, sectoral and company level and the right of Member States to set minimum wages according to national law and practice.
For the signatories of the joint statement, the EU has no competence to introduce any action regarding pay and collective bargaining as there is no legal basis to do so. The sectors fear in particular that top-down governmental intervention may crowd out better, closer-to-the-ground solutions, devised by social partners at national, sectoral and company level. The ability to set wages at the closest possible level to the workplace is crucial to adequately and timely respond to the rapid change taking place in sectors.
As employers from different sectors that need dynamic and adaptable labour markets, the ten organisations also challenge the European Commission assessment that there is a lack of social protection for certain forms of work, such as part-time work, fixed-term contracts and temporary agency work. Especially for these three forms of work, specific EU Directives are already in place, ensuring appropriate working conditions.
The ten European sectoral employers’ organisations represent the tech & industry, security industry, banking, chemicals, cleaning & facility services, retail & wholesale, construction, agriculture, hotel & gastronomy and private employment services. Together, they regroup well over 33 million companies providing jobs to nearly 114 million employees across Europe.