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ISSUE 65 page 9

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stats & facts


Survey shows large proportion of workers paid less than EU minimum

A survey carried out for the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Condhitions (Eurofound) has put forward the idea of an EU–wide minimum wage. This would not be the same in every country but would be calculated as 60% of the average (median) salary. Most countries have some kind of minimum wage but they often fall below this level. The researchers have published figures (see below) which show the percentage of employees in each who would be affected. While the EU has no official rôle in setting wages, the authors point to reductions engineered by the infamous ‘troika’ in Member States receiving funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) which have contributed to the shrinking of their economies. Conversely an improved minimum wage should boost consumer spending as well as alleviating poverty.



Labour costs record small rise in EU but big variations between countries

The latest figures from the EU’s statistical arm Eurostat show a continuing small rise in the cost of labour. Over the year to September 2013 the amount of money that employers need to pay to employ a worker increased by 1%. This includes wages, salaries and payments in kind as well as social contributions and taxes and is roughly in line with inflation. There was no difference between the euro-zone and the EU as a whole. However the situation in each Member State was greatly influenced by their general economic health. In the booming Baltic countries there were rises of between 5.9% and 8.1% while decreases in Cyprus (-7.6%) and Ireland (-1.6%) reflected their ‘bailed-out’ status. Even worse, Greece, whose latest figures date from last June, shows a –8.4% fall.


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