EU min­i­mum wage lev­els should be in­creased by 5% - Al­fred Sant

Malta Independent - - News -

Former Prime Min­is­ter and Mal­tese MEP Al­fred Sant told the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment that where the na­tional min­i­mum wage ex­ists in EU coun­tries, in the cur­rent favourable eco­nomic con­text, the min­i­mum wage lev­els should be in­creased across the board by at least 5%. The Mal­tese MEP said that we need to push for the adop­tion of an EU wide na­tional min­i­mum wage adapted to the con­di­tions of each Mem­ber State. Sant in­ter­vened dur­ing the de­bate on the ‘Min­i­mum in­come for a fair Europe: a right for cit­i­zens’.

“Pri­vate con­sump­tion has grown. Ex­ports and in­vest­ment have in­creased. Un­em­ploy­ment con­tin­ues to fall and it has got­ten closer to pre-cri­sis lev­els. Profits of cor­po­ra­tions have in­creased. Pub­lic deficit and debt lev­els have been largely brought un­der con­trol. Not so the share of the eco­nomic cake be­ing en­joyed by the work­ing and mid­dle classes; there the deficit has con­tin­ued to grow. In most cases where a na­tional min­i­mum wage ex­ists in Europe, it still falls short of what a liv­ing wage should be.”

The Mal­tese MEP said the di­ver­gences be­tween the high­est in­come earn­ers and the low­est have con­tin­ued to in­crease. This is not fair. At best, Min­i­mum In­come schemes play the role of safety nets for the most vul­ner­a­ble work­ers and for in­di­vid­u­als un­able to guar­an­tee an ad­e­quate stan­dard of liv­ing through their own ef­forts. They are hardly do­ing so. The time has come how­ever for such schemes to go be­yond this min­i­mum, Sant said.

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