Wage dumping: can a European minimum wage help?
The European Commission presented initial proposals for a pan-European minimum wage on Tuesday. Denmark, Sweden and Finland have already announced that they will oppose the minimum wage to protect their own models, and Denmark also introduced its own wage regulations for lorry drivers last week. Europe's press discusses the initiative.
Minimum decency long overdue
Krytyka Polityczna thinks that the minimum wage is an obvious solution:
“With such an arrangement, unskilled workers and people entering the labour market would at least work on similar terms throughout the EU. Although the economic liberals are reluctant, the 'European minimum wage' project is neither absurd nor radical. On the contrary, it's an absolute minimum which should have been introduced long ago. ... It's also clear that EU minimum wage regulations would not prevent individual member states from maintaining higher wage levels. They would only set a level of minimum decency - an amount that would allow all workers in Europe to earn a little more than what they need to simply survive.”
A doubly sensible measure
Handelsblatt welcomes the discussion:
“Before the introduction of the German minimum wage in 2015, slaughterhouses in France had to close en masse because they couldn't compete with the extremely low labour costs of the German competition. This example shows how competition is distorted if minimum wages either don't exist or are set too low in proportion to the economic power of the respective country. A European lower limit therefore makes sense economically - and of course also politically. People condemned to poverty lose confidence in the political establishment, to the benefit of populist, anti-European parties.”
Equal treatment is only fair
Lorry drivers who transport goods on Danish roads are to be paid according to Danish standards in future, irrespective of their place of residence. Rightly so, writes Gwyn Nissen, editor-in-chief of Der Nordschleswiger:
“On the one hand we owe it to them, but on the other hand we also owe it to the domestic transport industry, which has a hard time competing against the low wages in Eastern Europe. The temptation to make quick money - or to save costs - with cheap labour is great in Denmark. ... However - and this is decisive for whether this model can survive - the controls are also being tightened. ... The argument that foreign workers and lorry drivers don't live here is out of place. Anyone working in Denmark should also receive a Danish salary so that they can live here - and so that there is no distortion of competition. It's only fair.”