French Push for EU-Wide Minimum Wage to ‘Fight’ Social Dumping

Written by | Thursday, December 5th, 2013

French government has announced a new offensive against low-cost workers ahead of next year’s European Parliament elections. The newly agreed minimum wage in Germany may not be implemented before 2017 but, according to the French government, it is crucial for limiting social dumping. It is becoming ever clearer that French concerns about employment issues and social dumping were getting higher some six months before the European Parliament elections.
On Wednesday (27 November), French government came up with a new plan to deal with the abuse of “posted workers” who are sent by their employers to another EU country on a temporary basis, often at a lower cost. According to a French government’s report, in many European countries, while the EU’s posted worker’s directive, which regulates such practices, is being increasingly bypassed, sophisticated fraudulent arrangements reportedly flourish all over the French territory.
A meeting of EU social affairs ministers, which is set to be held on 9 and 10 December, should help clarify whether Paris can gain support for its initiative from other EU member states. While Paris and Berlin want to see a more protective directive on posted workers in place, London opposes this move. British Prime Minister David Cameron is using the low-cost workers argument to attract voters who are tempted by the eurosceptic UKIP. To that end, Cameron made an even more radical move – limiting free movement inside of the EU.
Imposing a minimum wage, specific to each country, is one of the demands coming from many sectors of the French economy. It has been reported that social dumping by Germany creates big competitive distortions, as the cost of labor in France is three times higher than in Germany. More concretely, the cost of temporary labor in Germany is €7 per hour, while it is €20 in France for a minimum wage with social contributions, and €30 in Denmark.

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