Time to talk about minimum wages!

13 Mar 2014, keywords :

This week (12 March 2014), CESI’s Presidium met in Brussels to discuss how minimum wages in Europe are key to ensuring protection for all in society. Members also discussed an initiative aimed at promoting to free movement of healthcare workers.

Time to talk about minimum wages!

On the topic of minimum wages, immediate questions are raised: minimum wages in Europe or a European minimum wage? Members of the Presidium agreed on the important principle of the existence of a minimum wage in each country, something yet to be achieved notably in Italy and Germany. Furthermore, there is a need to address the various parameters of such a minimum wage for each individual EU country. Nonetheless, there was no doubt in agreement that in order to address issues of social dumping in the long-term, minimum wages need to come into play in every Member State.

CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger opened the debate by saying “If we speak about a social dimension in the EU and if we speak about social cohesion, then we absolutely have to speak about fighting social dumping through minimum wages. We simply cannot have a race to the bottom with workers being pitted against each other”.

With the free movement of workers Directive adopted by the European Parliament, this week’s Presidium in CESI was also a well-timed opportunity to discuss the establishment of a network in CESI for health workers who move from one EU country to another. The aim is for CESI’s member organisations to provide the same services they would to their own members to mobile workers who are members of another CESI member organisation.

The legislation on the free movement of workers, which is due to be adopted by the Council in the coming weeks, is an attempt to address the lack of awareness and consistency in the application of workers’ rights to free movement in the EU. Like CESI’s initiative, it aims to ease the burden on workers who move from one member state to another.

The rapporteur from the European Parliament, Edit Bauer MEP, met with CESI recently to discuss her work on the free movement of workers within the Employment and Social Affairs Committee. The full interview can be read here.