Germany - Can industry minimum wages counteract the spread of low-paid work? - September 20, 2010

According to a recent report of the Institute for Labour and Qualification (IAQ) of the University Duisburg – Essen, in 2008 the incidence of low pay (defined as the share of employees earning less than two-thirds of the median hourly wage, or Euro 9.06 in 2008) in Germany was 20.7% -- slightly less than the 21.5% share of 2006, but much higher than the 1995 incidence (below 15%) and also still quite high compared with other industrialized countries. In 2008, the low-pay incidence was with 29.9% among females more than double that among males. Across industries, the share of low-paid was highest in cleaning (78.4%), hospitality (60.5%) and security (54.0%). In retail the low-pay incidence was 34.0%, in the care sector 26.7%. The IAQ researchers go into efforts to conclude industry collective agreements that the government, if covering 50% of employees at national level, based on the Posted Workers Act can declare generally binding. In 2010 this has been realized for low-pay sectors such as waste treatment (January, 130,000 employed), commercial cleaning (March, 860,000), and the care sector (August, 810,000). Though the coming into being of these industry-specific minimum wages may diminish the share of the very low-paid, the researchers make the reservation that the agreed minimum wage rates remain quite low, below the low-pay threshold of Euro 9.06 (See also this Collective Bargaining Newsletter Year 2 December 2009 and Year 3 March, May and July-August 2010).

English: G. Bosch, C. Weinkopf (2010) EWERC EC project Minimum Wage System and Changing Industrial Relations in Europe. National Report Germany. Duisburg - Essen: IAQ ( …)


This article was published in the Collective Bargaining Newsletter. It aims to facilitate information exchange between trade unions and to support the work of ETUC's collective bargaining committee. For more information, please contact the editor Maarten van Klaveren, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) You may find further information on the ETUI, and on the AIAS at © ETUI aisbl, Brussels 2009.

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