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Minimum Standards

The statutory minimum wages reflect the economic situation in a country or provide an insight into the cost of living in the according country. For many employees in agriculture and forestry, especially in the central European countries, the statutory minimum wage has an important function. Either they earn the minimum age or their payment uses this standard as a point of orientation.

The Situation in International Comparison:

Tabelle International Comparison: Minimum Standards

The Situation in Individual European Countries:

AT: Austria

From July 2007 there is a statutory minimum wage (cf. Table).

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BE: Belgium

There is a statutory minimum wage in Belgium (Cf. Table).

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BG: Bulgaria

There is a statutory minimum wage (Cf. Table).

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CH: Switzerland

There is no statutory minimum wage. A number of cantons have defined a relatively binding minimum wage in cantonal legislation, which also applies to agriculture (e. g. canton of Waadt CHF 3,104 / € 1,877, Geneva CHF 3,160 / € 1,887). The minimum wage for employees from the new EU member countries is CHF 3,020 / € 1,827.

The wage level in Switzerland is very high compared with the European Union, and so is the cost of living, etc.  UNIA made a comparison with conditions in France (Geneva region) and found that the 'high' wages are relative. Lower contributions to welfare insurance and higher working time without bonuses, etc. show that the actual difference between Switzerland and France is + 10 %-20 %.

When it comes to minimum standards the wholesale groups Migros and Coop play an important role because of certification under Eurepgap/Swissgap and BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative) for their producers (farmers). According to UNIA this is just eyewash in order to reduce the need for statutory regulation and to appear friendly to the consumer. Switzerland has not signed ILO Convention 184 (Health and safety at work in agriculture). Neither have the European countries! The Swiss Farmers Association SBV and especially the Swiss Vegetable Farmers Association are against any collective agreement.

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CY: Cyprus

The statutory minimum wage is € 665.00, which increases to € 705.00 after six months of employment (equivalent to € 4.01 per hour). The trade union SEK fights for legal recognition of the collective agreements as minimum standards.

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CZ: Czech Republic

Since Jan. 1, 2007, the minimum wage for a 40-hour week has been 8,000 CZK per month, or 48.10 CZK per hour. This is the only point that has been stipulated if employer and company union cannot agree on a collective agreement. The collectively agreed minimum wage in agriculture is a little higher: 49 CZK/hour.

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DE: Germany

Germany has by now developed a large low-wage sector, in which about 10 % of all employees are working.

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DK: Denmark

In Denmark there is no statutory minimum wage.

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EE: Estonia

There is a statutory minimum wage (Cf. Table).

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ES: Spain

In Spain there is a statutory minimum wage (Cf. Table). That is important for the agricultural workers in the low-wage sector because many are paid according to the minimum wage.

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FI: Finland

In Finland there is no statutory minimum wage. In the agricultural sector students and interns are paid 10-30 % less than the minimum wage for agriculture.

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FR: France

In France there is a statutory minimum wage (Cf. Table).

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GB: United Kingdom

There is a statutory minimum wage in the United Kingdom (Cf. Table). The price index in the United Kingdom is about 15 % higher than the EU average.

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GR: Greece

There is a statutory minimum wage (cf. Table).

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HR: Croatia

Negotiations on a statutory minimum wage are under way.

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HU: Hungary

The statutory minimum wage for 2007 is HUF 65,500 per month per person. It has been laid down in a tri-partite process and published in a Ministry decree. Every employer has to comply with it. Employees working full-time must not be paid a lower monthly wage. This obligation is very important in agriculture where about 50 % of the workers earn the minimum wage.

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IE: Ireland

There is a statutory minimum wage (cf. Table).

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IS: Iceland

There is no statutory minimum wage.

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IT: Italy

There is no statutory minimum wage. The national collective agreement is de facto legally binding. Under ž 36 of the Constitution the wage must be sufficient to allow the employee to lead a life with human dignity. The national collective agreement is used as a basis for construing this rule.

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LT: Lithuania

The statutory gross minimum wage is 600 LIT (€ 173) per month.

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LU: Luxembourg

There are two minimum wages in Luxembourg: The minimum wage for unqualified labour of € 9.07, and the minimum wage for qualified labour of € 10.89 per hour.

The statutory minimum wages and pensions are increased every 2 years in addition to the index-based increase.

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LV: Latvia

There is a statutory minimum wage (cf. Table).

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MT: Malta

The minimum payment in certain sectors is regulated by the Wage Councils of the Maltese government or by collective agreements for individual industries. Binding legal provisions apply to all workers.

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NL: Netherlands

The statutory minimum wage is index-adjusted on January 1 and July 1 every year.

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NO: Norway

The minimum wage in Norway is 85 % of the average wage in the industry.

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PL: Poland

There is a statutory minimum wage.

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PT: Portugal

There is a statutory minimum wage (cf. Table).

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RO: Romania

In Romania there is a statutory minimum wage (cf. Table).

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SE: Sweden

In Sweden there is no statutory minimum wage.

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SI: Slovenia

The statutory minimum wage is € 522.00. In agriculture there are 151 workers earning the statutory minimum wage.

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SK: Slovakia

There is a statutory minimum wage. The minimum wage level is calculated on the basis of the average wage of the workers in the previous year using a coefficient that employee, employer, and government representatives negotiate.

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TR: Turkey

There is a statutory minimum wage. It is set by a commission for the determination of minimum wages. The Trade Union is represented in the commission.

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