• The European Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs committee today moved closer to establishing an EU wide minimum wage, which would see the rate in the UK increase to £7.34/hour.
UKIP MEP Derek Clark, a member of the committee, said that although the amendments which would have set the minimum wage at 60% of the national average wage for member states was defeated, the report as a whole was passed, meaning that the principle of EU interference in wage rates was accepted. The amendments were rejected only because of poor wording which led the socialist MEPs to abstain: both are expected to pass at a later stage.
The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs voted on the possibility of an EU-Wide Minimum Income based upon 60% of the average wage in the UK, which, according to the figures for 2009 would be 60% of £489 per week. This would make £293.40 the UK minimum income under these rules.
This is an attempt by the EU Commission to end poverty in its EU 2020 Strategy, by standardising and harmonising wage levels across the EU 27 Member States.
The two crucial amendments are stated below, that of harmonising and establishing an EU tax system (Amendment 76) and that seeking to introduce an EU minimum income scheme (AM 85). Despite the fact that these amendments were defeated by the Committee vote, the report was passed as a whole, which lays down a marker for future plans for both an EU tax system and minimum income schemes.
Mr Clark said, "This strategy is in fact going to have the opposite effect because in the UK, for example, this will drive up the National minimum wage and cause Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME's) to collapse due to escalating costs."
Mr Clark went on to say that "After the City of London, SME's are a major part of the UK's Economy and in the middle of an economic crisis it is madness to make life more difficult for them. This is another case for withdrawing from the EU, it is time we looked after our National interest after years of undemocratic EU rule."
See Amendments to the Figueiredo Draft Report (PE439.981v01-00): The role of minimum income in combating poverty and promoting an inclusive society in Europe [2010/2039(INI)].