The Council is expected to formally approve the agreement in September, after which the text will be law. At that point, the EU countries will have two years to comply with the directive. To date, according to European data, the highest minimum wages are granted in Luxembourg, Ireland and Germany; the lowest in Bulgaria, Latvia and Estonia. Currently 21 out of 27 countries guarantee a minimum wage, while the other six (Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Italy and Sweden) determine wage levels on the basis of collective wage bargaining.
According to data from the International Labor Organization, 15% of workers in the European Union (26.5 million people, over half of whom are women) earn an hourly wage below the minimum wage. The identification of the minimum wage will remain the responsibility of the individual Member States, which will however have to ensure that their minimum wages enable workers to have a decent life, taking into account the cost of living and the higher levels of wages. As regards the assessment of the adequacy of existing guaranteed minimum wages, EU countries will be able to determine a basket of goods and services at real prices, or set it at 60% of the median gross wage and 50% of the average gross wage.
The rules approved in Brussels define upward convergence criteria, and provide for monitoring and verification of data for the protection of an effective minimum wage. For Italy, which due to collective bargaining does not have the obligation to transpose the directive, the effective achievement of the 80% threshold of collective bargaining will still have to be verified, remembering that countries are asked to promote it, including measures that facilitate the access of trade union representatives to workers. Collective “pirate” agreements, not applied at national level or with exemptions, or even simply expired for years as is often the case, could therefore not pass the scrutiny of the expected mandatory monitoring system, which will be accompanied by controls and inspections in the field, also to counter abusive subcontracting, fictitious self-employment or unregistered overtime.
Meanwhile, the EU has also implemented a “revolutionary” move against forced labor, announcing the imminent ban on the territory of the Union of products made in this way, even if imported. “This proposal will make a difference in addressing modern slavery, which affects millions of people around the world,” commented Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis. The new regulation should take 24 months to enter into force, after discussions with the EU Parliament and Council. It will be implemented by empowering national authorities to withdraw banned products. It will be up to the customs authorities of the Member States to carry out checks at the borders of the EU. There will be a platform for coordination and cooperation between the competent authorities and the Commission. Controls will also be triggered on the basis of a database on the risks of forced labor, focused on specific products and geographical areas. In the absence of evidence, perhaps due to lack of cooperation, the withdrawal will be arranged on the basis of the facts available.CopyAMP code.