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Germany – Upper house votes for minimum wage

04 March 2013

Germany may have moved closer to introducing a mandatory national minimum wage after parliament’s upper house on Friday voted in favour of implementing such measures. This is despite Chancellor Angela Merkel and her coalition party broadly opposing plans to fix base pay in the country.

The opposition parties, led by the social democrats, left-wing and the Green party, have recently gained a majority in the upper house of parliament, known as the Bundesrat (and similar to the US Senate or UK House of Lords). Friday’s vote proposes the introduction of an hourly minimum wage of €8.50, a move which is likely to put Ms Merkel’s conservative government under pressure ahead of national elections in September.

The German Bundestag, parliament’s lower house, now has to decide whether proposal will go ahead to introduce an across-the-board minimum wage. It is expected that the lower house will put a brake on the proposals.

The coalition parties have in the past expressed their opposition to enforce a minimum wage although opinions remain divided among party members. Vice chancellor and economy minister, Philipp Rösler, surprisingly changed course on Monday. He said he was not against introducing a minimum wage per se despite showing little support before.  

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