European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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Wage developments

Figure 3.1 Trust in the European Union (percentage of Eurobarometer respondents)


The erosion of trust in the EU

In the field of wages and collective bargaining, the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) contains two important commitments. First of all, Principle 6 is on the right of workers‘ to fair wages that provide for a decent living standard’ and ensuring ‘adequate minimum wages … in a way that provides for the satisfaction of the needs of the worker and his/her family’ (European Commission 2017a: 26). Secondly, Principle 8 is a commitment to encourage the two sides of industry to negotiate and conclude collective agreements (European Commission 2017a: 33). These commitments arean important element of a newly emerging European-level narrative in the field of wages and collective bargaining which views a more dynamic wage growth and wage convergence as a prerequisite for more sustainable and inclusive economic growth. This shift in the narrative involves a broader view of the role of wages. Whereas previously wages were primarily viewed as a cost factor, the new narrative acknowledges their important role in boosting internal demand and social cohesion. This broader view of the role of wages also implies that multi-employer collective bargaining and strong trade unions with wage-setting power are recognised for their contribution to achieving the objective of stronger wage growth rather than exclusively viewed as institutional rigidities that impede the market-driven (downward) adjustment of wages (European Commission 2018b).

more information in  Benchmarking Working Europe 2019 - Chapter 3 Wages and collective bargaining: time to deliver on the European Pillar of Social Rights

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Mehmet Koksal

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