Civil Protection Minister Nello Musumeci came under fire on Friday after saying the minimum wage proposed by opposition parties is a form of welfarism. His solution to low wages: to work.
“I believe the answer is work,” said Musumeci in answer to a question about the minimum wage. Musumeci is a member of Meloni’s FdI party.
“Enough with this welfarism, the right and the centre-right also stand out for a different kind of proactive ability,” he added.
Azione-Italia Viva Lower House whip Matteo Richetti tweeted his response to Musumeci.
“I want to tell Musumeci 3 things:
1. The minimum wage is granted to those who work
2. The welfarism of which he is an expert is something different
3. I feel a bit ashamed for him,”
“Meloni’s ministers do not even realise that those who are asking for the minimum wage work from morning to night. They are not asking to be helped, they simply demand to be paid a fair amount, not €3 or €4 an hour,” said former premier Giuseppe Conte.
Earlier this month opposition parties registered a joint bill introducing a minimum wage of €9 gross per hour. The aim is “to guarantee adequate earnings for workers, especially those in conditions of poverty in part because of inflation”.
Confindustria has said it would not be against such a move. The organisation added it would not affect the industrial association as its collective contracts are all above the €9 mark.
Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco also said a minimum wage should be introduced for workers not covered by collective employment contracts.
“In Italy it is said there is already a contractual wage, but many are not covered by these contracts,” Visco told Skytg24. “I believe it is these people” who must have a “reasonable wage”, he added.
Schlein says she’ll meet Meloni to discuss minimum wage
Elly Schlein, leader of the Democratic Party (Pd), said today she welcomed media reports of an opening by Meloni to the introduction of a minimum wage. Schlein said was willing to discuss.
“I am available for a meeting with Giorgia Meloni on the minimum wage even as early as tomorrow morning,” said Schlein. La Repubblica reported Meloni had expressed a “cautious opening” on the issue.
The Pd secretary said she was “happy to read that there is an openness on the part of the premier to a confrontation on the merits” of the bill. The opposition parties want to introduce a minimum wage of €9 gross per hour.
The proposal aims “to guarantee adequate earnings for workers, especially those in conditions of poverty in part because of inflation,” according to the proponents.
Italy one of five EU countries without a minimum wage
Italy is one of only five EU couintries which does not have a minimum wage. The others are Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Austria. All of these countries, with the exception of Italy had annual salaries in 2021 which were above the EU average.
In 2021, the average annual full-time adjusted salary for employees in the EU was €33,500. Denmark ranked second with €63,300 per annum.
The fact of the matter is, Italy is not providing a large sector of its workers with a liveable wage.
In January 2022, 13 Member States, located in the east and the south of the EU, had minimum wages below €1 000 per month. These were: Bulgaria (€332), Latvia (€500), Romania (€515), Hungary (€542), Croatia (€624), Slovakia (€646), Czechia (€652), Estonia (€654), Poland (€655), Lithuania (€730), Greece (€774), Malta (€792) and Portugal (€823).
In Slovenia (€1,074) and Spain (€1,126), minimum wages ranged just over €1,000 per month. In the remaining six Member States, minimum wages were above €1 500 per month. They were: France (€1,603), Germany (€1,621), Belgium (€1,658), the Netherlands (€1,725), Ireland (€1,775) and Luxembourg (€2,257).
The latest data, July 2023, shows minimum wages in the EU Member States ranged from €399 per month in Bulgaria to €2,508 per month in Luxembourg. [source https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/].
With Meloni stating recently the Italian economy is the most reliable in the EU, it may be time for her to put the money where her mouth is. She needs to ensure those who are working, receive a living wage not made to work for pittances.
Since the creation of this map, Cyprus has put in force a minimum wage of €940 per month. This means 22 of the 27 countries have a minimum wage.