The European Commission has recently launched consultations on how to ensure fair minimum wages for all workers in the European Union. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen in her State of the European Union Speech said that the Commission will put forward a “legal proposal” on minimum wage.
Finnish Industries sees no need for EU-level minimum wage setting. The Commission should respect the competences of national social partners, especially when it comes to questions related to wage setting. According to EU treaty EU’s legislative competence does not include wage setting.
There is a well-functioning collective bargaining in wage-setting in place in Finland and collective agreements’ coverage is at a very high level, as it covers 90% of the workforce. A European minimum wage framework would add no value to the existing and well-functioning system which all social partners approve. We are concerned that the Commissions aim to cover every worker in the EU, a promise not to impose a statutory minimum wage on the Member States which set wages exclusively through collective bargaining and a promise to fully respect national competences and traditions are impossible to achieve and secure at the same time.
“In Finland and the other Nordic countries an EU-level minimum wage regulation would strongly interfere with our national labour market models. Therefore, we call for full respect of national competences and social partners’ contractual freedom”, says Petri Vuorio, Head of Finnish Industries’ Brussels office.
In Finland, the wage-setting has traditionally been one of the most important matters falling within the scope of the social partners’ freedom of contract. The wages jointly agreed by the social partners are based on a balanced agreement that considers the interests of both parties. The wage-setting ensures companies’ productivity, pay opportunities and fair remuneration of employees. Minimum wage levels, wage systems, wage setting, and various wage supplements vary significantly from industry to industry. For this reason, it must continue to be possible to set wage levels differently at different industry sectors. EU-level actions should not reduce the social partners competence.