Minimum wages and collective bargaining – EU political agreement reached

Minimum wages and collective bargaining – EU political agreement reached

A provisional political agreement on the draft directive on adequate minimum wages has been reached. Negotiators of the Council and of the European Parliament have announced the deal today, a major step towards the adoption of this EU law.

“The draft legislation sets a signal for strengthening collective bargaining: 80% collective bargaining coverage in each of the member states is the EU’s objective. It demands government action in the majority of member states in support of collective bargaining and trade unions. This ambition is exactly what working people across Europe need,” said Oliver Roethig, Regional Secretary of UNI Europa.

“To live up to this ambition, public authorities have a very effective tool at their disposal: public procurement. Requiring that all companies that get public contracts have collective agreements with their workers is a must. This is what UNI Europa’s ‘No public contract without collective agreement’ campaign is all about. The directive will give a boost to this endeavour,” said Oliver Roethig.

The development of collective bargaining coverage (see graph), shows that it is high time for the EU and countries taking action. Democracy at work has been under attack and the number of workers who have a say at work has dramatically decreased over the past decade.

“We know the best way to ensure good wages and conditions is for workers to have a strong collective say. For laws and policies to deliver shared prosperity, they must facilitate working people’s ability to join together into unions, not hinder it. What we definitely don’t want is EU legislation messing with national collective bargaining systems that already deliver for workers and their unions. To do so, it is crucial that this directive protects national collective bargaining systems. To advance the European social models, the EU must commit to moving forward through collective bargaining,” said Oliver Roethig.

The EU’s objective for Member States to reach 80% will require a pro-worker shift in many national approaches to labour relations. Sectoral and multi-employer bargaining is a core part of those countries that are already achieving this target. When workers’ unions can collectively negotiate minimum conditions for whole sectors, it provides a mechanism to cut out corporations that seek to undercut competitors by attacking workers’ conditions.

Reports also indicate that the directive takes steps towards fixing the EU’s rules on public procurement. For over a year, UNI Europa has been pushing for corporations that exclude their workers from having a collective bargaining say to themselves be excluded from receiving public money. Momentum has been building, with over 100 MEPs endorsing union demands and people from across Europe have shown their support. Sign up to support the campaign here

More information:


You may also be interested in

Meetings & Events




UNI Europa Finance Bank Preparatory Meeting




Bank Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee Working Group Meeting




UNI Europa Finance Steering Group Meeting