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