Austerity puts pressure on minimum wages in Europe

Pressure on minimum wages arising from government austerity measures has been highlighted by a European trade union think tank.

The briefing paper examines recent trends in minimum wages across Europe in the light of the economic crisis.

Key points

  • In most European countries, workers earning the minimum wage have suffered losses – in some cases quite considerable ones – in real pay.
  • The ‘Troika’ (the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank) has made a ‘more or less direct attempt’ to force cuts in minimum wages in big-deficit countries such as Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland.
  • This has made the demand-depressing effects of austerity policies worse and is one factor behind economic stagnation in Europe.

Source: Thorsten Schulten, Minimum Wages in Europe under Austerity, European Trade Union Institute

Link: Report