Monday, 10 March 2008

European Minimum Wage

The effects of globalisation have largely benefited businesses at the expense of workers. For example, many businesses have sought to re-locate to regions of cheaper labour to the detriment of thousands of workers in Europe and North America. Its time that the benefits of globalisation were shared between businesses and their employees and as part of the globalisation process it is essential that we move towards not only a global minimum wage, but also global minimum labour standards which are enforceable.

We should also deplore the inadequacy of the UK minimum wage(s) and the fact that many British and European Union workers in the UK are working in unacceptably poor conditions for inadequate wages. Despite assurances from the government, the influx of European Union workers has, in some cases, lead to the loss of UK workers livelihoods due to the undermining of UK wages and conditions.

As a first step towards a global minimum wage, The European Union, which is meant to have an economic level playing field, must implement a European minimum wage. The wage should be increased annually in line with the cost of living and should be based on the Council of Europe Decency Threshold (at 68% of average earnings). Such a European Union minimum wage would apply only where individual member states did not already have a minimum wage set at a higher rate, in which case that higher rate would apply.

Trade Unionists and progressive political parties and pressure groups should campaign for legislation to be brought in by the European Union. Such minimum wage legislation must contain safeguards to ensure that member states who have a minimum wage level higher than the European Union minimum wage maintain differentials, with the aim of leveling the European minimum wage upwards to reach parity in all member states by say 2020.

Help to get the ball rolling by signing the European Minimum Wage petition.

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