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Minimum wage: FDP rejects Scholz’s proposal – CDU vice-president Laumann calls for a new mechanism

Minimum wage: FDP rejects Scholz’s proposal – CDU vice-president Laumann calls for a new mechanism

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is calling for a gradual increase in the minimum wage to 15 euros – and is facing strong headwind: from the FDP, employers and even the CDU’s “social conscience”.

FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai has clearly rejected Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s demand to gradually increase the minimum wage to 15 euros. “We Free Democrats have a clear stance on the minimum wage: politicians must stay out of its determination,” said Djir-Sarai star.

Scholz had called for an increase in the minimum wage to initially 14 euros, and then to 15 euros in the next step. At the same time, the Chancellor clearly criticized the Minimum Wage Commission: “The employers only insisted on a mini-adjustment,” said Scholz. That was a “breaking of a taboo”. The Commission should return to a uniform procedure, demanded the Chancellor.

The FDP opposes Scholz’s move. “Arbitrary government intervention disrupts trust between employers and employees and harms our country,” said Secretary General Djir-Sarai. It is not for nothing that there is a commission in Germany that is entrusted with the determination.

A commission in which the social partners are represented is responsible for setting the minimum wage. In 2022, the traffic light government raised it by law to 12 euros in a first-of-its-kind step. It is currently planned to raise the lower wage limit from the current 12.41 euros to 12.82 euros next year.

The Commission’s recommendation was not made by consensus. The employee representatives criticized an increase that was too small after the vote of the commission chairperson tipped the scales in favor of the employers’ side.

CDU Vice President Laumann: Minimum wage must not be a political football

“The SPD is already entering the election campaign over the minimum wage,” said CDU vice-president Karl-Josef Laumann star. “I reject arbitrary determination by politicians.” There needs to be a reliable participation of all people in wage development in Germany, said Laumann, who is also chairman of the CDU workers’ wing (CDA) and is considered the “social conscience” of his party. “The minimum wage is an important part of the labor market regulation. But it must not be a political football,” said Laumann.

However, it is also clear, according to the labor minister in North Rhine-Westphalia: “We need a new mechanism for a fair lower wage limit.” Laumann complained that the last increase of 41 cents did not even compensate for inflation. “It is clear: the committee lacks acceptance. There is no solution mechanism on an equal footing.” Laumann considers linking the minimum wage to the development of the median wage to be an effective solution. “It would be good if the social partners could agree on such a mechanism.”

Dennis Radtke, deputy chairman of the CDA workers’ wing, argues similarly: “As the CDU, we finally have to make a proposal on how we can depoliticize the minimum wage again,” he told stern. Scholz found his topic with the minimum wage. It would be best to adopt the proposal from the EU Minimum Wage Directive and set 60 percent of the median wage as the minimum wage, said Radtke. “In the future, the Federal Statistical Office will decide this question and not the SPD’s election campaign strategists.”

Criticism of Scholz’s proposal also comes from employer president Rainer Dulger. “If anyone is breaking a taboo, it’s the Chancellor,” Dulger told the newspaper star. “He has promised that he will no longer interfere in the work of the Minimum Wage Commission.”

For the economy, job security and collective bargaining autonomy, it is “extremely dangerous to constantly increase the pressure on the Minimum Wage Commission for election campaign reasons,” criticized Dulger. If politicians and unions continue to conduct the minimum wage negotiations in the press, “then the minimum wage commission can be dissolved straight away.” The employers had behaved in accordance with the law, said Dulger, and the independent chairwoman of the Minimum Wage Commission made and supported the last proposal for an increase.

Source: Stern

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