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Minimum wage initiative lacks legal basis: it must respect the autonomous role of social partners in wage-setting as well as statutory minimum wages

Brussels, 05 May 2021 - As representatives of sectoral employers, strongly engaged in social dialogue at national and EU level, we are committed to continuously improve the working conditions of our employees and share the objectives. We are however strongly concerned about the implications of the proposal for a Directive on adequate minimum wages on the role of Social Partners and on statutory minimum wages.

Indeed, as EU sectoral employers, we firmly believe in the autonomous role of our members in collective bargaining at national, sectoral and company level and support the right of Member States to set minimum wages according to national law and practice. Regrettably, the proposal does not respect these two core principles underpinning the European social market economy. For us, the EU has no competence to introduce any action regarding pay and collective bargaining as there is no legal basis to do so.

For these reasons, the sectors we represent are highly concerned about the proposed Directive. They fear in particular that top-down governmental intervention may crowd out better, closer-to-the-ground solutions, devised by social partners at national, sectoral and company level. The ability to set wages at the closest possible level to the workplace is crucial to adequately and timely respond to the rapid change taking place in our sectors.

As employers from different sectors that need dynamic and adaptable labour markets, we also challenge the European Commission assessment that there is a lack of social protection for certain forms of work, such as part-time work, fixed-term contracts and temporary agency work. Especially for these three forms of work, specific EU Directives are already in place, ensuring appropriate working conditions.

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"The Narratives"

EuroCommerce Narrative on Retail and Wholesale in a changing world…

The world is changing rapidly. Retailers and wholesalers have repeatedly shown how resilient and adaptive they are, and are moving ahead with embracing this change, providing value to customers, suppliers, and society at large. This great story is worth telling – both to the sector and to the wider world. And the story needs to say clearly what we want from the EU and from national governments to make our sector sustainably competitive.

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"The Narratives"