Towards a European Minimum Wage Policy? Fair Wages and Social Europe

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Series Details Vol.14, No.4, December 2008, p421-440
Publication Date December 2008
ISSN 0959-6801
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Abstract: The notion of Social Europe is usually taken to entail the payment of fair wages, defined as at least a minimum sufficient for a decent standard of living. In all European countries there is some regulation of minimum wages, either by law or by collective agreements. However, the value of minimum wages in Europe differs significantly both in absolute level and relative to average or median national wages. Moreover, some national systems of wage regulation have proved ineffectual in preventing the growth of employment paying below the minimum. Against this background there is an ongoing debate on the possibility and desirability of a European minimum wage policy. This article gives an overview of national minimum wage regulation and discusses the opportunity for and resistance to the introduction of a coordinated minimum wage policy at European level.

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