Slovenian Presidency of EU Council hopes to finalise negotiations on minimum wages directive soon
The last discussion in the working group on 8 November, followed by a meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper I) at the end of November, with the aim of adopting a general approach at the Employment and Social Policy Council (EPSCO) on 6 December: the timetable for negotiations in the Council on the minimum wages directive now seems clearly established, according to information gleaned on Friday 22 October.
At the meeting of the Social Working Group on Tuesday 19 October to discuss the Presidency’s new proposal, the Member States came up against three main points. Firstly, the discussion focused on the Presidency’s proposed addition of the word ‘statutory’ to ‘salary’ in Article 1 (dedicated to the purpose of the legislative act). For some delegations, this addition seemed too restrictive and de facto limited the scope of the directive. The European Commission is also said to have had reservations about this addition.
In Article 4, on the promotion of collective bargaining on wage setting, the fact that the target of achieving 70% collective bargaining coverage was made “indicative” was also discussed among Member States, with some feeling that here again the loosening went too far. The European Commission was also reportedly unenthusiastic on this point.
Article 5, on the criteria for determining the adequacy of the minimum wage, was also discussed. Here, some delegations regretted that the Presidency proposes that Member States should be able to refer to criteria both at international level (as proposed by the European Commission) and at national level, thus making the text much more flexible.
In general, the dividing lines remain the same: the Scandinavian Member States and some of the Central and Eastern European ones are rather hostile to the method applied by the text—but not the objectives—still insisting on the respect of national competences and the autonomy of the social partners.