Sustained minimum wage growth and convergence
Figures 3.8 shows that 2018 was the third successive year in which statutory national minimum wages grew dynamically. In 18 out of the 22 EU countries with a statutory minimum wage, increases were introduced, with effect from 1 January 2019. In the UK and Belgium, minimum wages were increasedin April and September 2018 respectively. Greece and Latvia were the only two countries in which they remained at the same level as the year before. At the end of 2018, however, the Greek government decided to increase the minimum wage by more than 10% as of 1 February 2019. This will be the first increase in the minimum wage since it was reduced by 22% in 2012 and frozen thereafter as part of the Troika programmes. As regards nominal minimum wage growth between January 2018 and January 2019, three groups of countries can be distinguished. The first group comprises those 11 countries with a growth rate of 5% or more. This group consists mainly of central and eastern European (CEE) countries and ranges from Lithuania (38.4%) and Spain (22.3%) to Hungary (7.9%),Poland (7.1) and Slovenia (5.2%). The strong increases in CEE countries means that the convergence of minimum wages inthe EU continued in 2018.