by N. Peter Kramer
The European Commission has proposed an EU directive on minimum wages and collective bargaining. The Commission opts for a directive with common compulsory principles for all member states for the reason that President Ursula von der Leyen, when she took office, has given a ‘string political commitment with fair wages’, explained Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights.
It is clear that the proposal goes against the majority view of the member states. Many of them are in favour of a non-binding instrument, but the Commission opts for a directive with common compulsory principles for all member states. According to BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer the Commission ignores the strong objections of the European business community. ‘What the Commission is proposing is a legal monster. It can only lead to problematic jurisprudence because the proposed derogations cannot alleviate the problems created by the obligations foreseen’. ‘It is a recipe for disaster’, writes Business Europe.
The European Trade Union Confederation is in favour of the proposal, although the Nordic countries are against legal interference in autonomous collective bargaining on wages amongst social partners. A question is also, isn’t the proposal against the word and spirit of the EU Treaty which protects national competences on pay and collective bargaining.
Markus Beyrer said also, ‘Companies are fighting for their survival and to save jobs threatened by the COVID-crisis. They have no margins to absorb the costs of dangerous experiments on minimum wages at EU level’.
We can at least say, the presentation of the Commission proposal wasn’t on the right sensible moment…