The trilogue negotiators found a provisional agreement on the Directive on adequate minimum wages in the morning of 7 June. While the EP rapporteurs claim that workers are the big winners, Ceemet considers that social partners and collective bargaining are significantly losing.

Brussels, 08 June 2022 – With the publishing of the legislative proposal in October 2020, the European Commission claimed that this Directive will help build social Europe and improve the life of European citizens. This mantra has been used to propose a legislative instrument which goes beyond the remit of the European Treaties. It moreover creates high expectations on the side of the EU citizens, which it will not be able to fulfil.

Undermining collective bargaining: collateral damage?

Since the Commission’s proposal for a Directive was published, the Directive’s negative consequences for collective bargaining have been remarkably underestimated and unreported.  

The provisional agreement sets an arbitrary target of 80 % collective bargaining coverage – a threshold even higher than the Commission’s proposal – and obliges Member States to propose concrete measures if the coverage is below this threshold. This will likely result in the end of well-functioning collective bargaining systems.

In several Member States, the only way to reach this target may be by making collective agreements universally applicable. This will weaken social partners as it implies that the rules apply to all, even to those that are not members of an employers’ organisation or a trade union.

This interference goes against social partner autonomy and will therefore weaken what the Directive sets out to strengthen.

Reflecting on the way forward

Employers and various national trade unions have already rightfully insisted that decisions involving wage setting and collective bargaining – as proposed by the Commission – must be taken at national level.

Ceemet therefore calls on the Member States to duly consider the negative implications of this Directive and vote against this provisional agreement in their upcoming meeting.