Agnes Jongerius (PvdA) European negotiator of minimum wage

EMPL Constitutive meeting - Election of Chair and Vice-Chairs

The European Parliament has appointed the Dutch MEP Agnes Jongerius (PvdA) as rapporteur and co-negotiator for a European minimum wage.

In the coming months, she will be negotiating with the European Commission and with the 27 Social Affairs and Employment Ministers about a European directive for minimum wages. “We can make a difference for higher wages in the Netherlands and in the rest of Europe with this European directive,” said Jongerius in response to the acceptance of her proposal.

“Stock fillers, maternity care workers, forklift truck drivers: these are all people who work for a minimum wage. During the corona crisis, they proved once again indispensable. It is high time that they started to earn a fair wage for this. Working hard and still living in poverty, that is inadmissible in the Netherlands and throughout Europe ”, says Jongerius.

She wants to set a lower limit which in the Netherlands amounts to 14 euros per hour. More people should also be covered by a collective labor agreement and she wants to prevent deductions and exceptions from the minimum wage.

The new directive must ensure that the legal minimum wage is always above the poverty line, she emphasizes. “The EU is one of the richest regions in the world. However, 95 million Europeans are at risk of poverty. We must not allow economic interests to prevail over social protection, ”said German co-rapporteur Ӧzlem Demirel.

According to Eurostat's definition, people are at risk of poverty if their disposable income is less than 60% of the national average income for more than six months. Figures from Eurostat show that 9.4% of European workers were at risk of poverty in 2018.

Low wages have not increased at the same rate in many EU countries as other wages, which is only widening income disparities.