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Poland complains over German minimum wage

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 22.01.2015 10:51
The European Commission (EC) has received complaints from countries including Poland over the application of Germany’s new minimum wage on foreign truck drivers.
Photo: Wikipedia CommonsPhoto: Wikipedia Commons

The German government has decided that the minimum wage of EUR 8.50 an hour will be applied to all truck drivers who are involved in transit trade through Germany. Foreign employers could be fined more than EUR 30,000 if they fail to pay this wage.

In comparison the Polish minimum wage for 2015 is PLN 1,750 gross a month (EUR 400). Polish sources claim that enforcing German wages would weaken Poland’s trucking industry, which has recently expanded to become a major player in trans-European trade.

The EC has demanded an explanation from the German government as it believes that this might be a breach of EU law, giving it 30 days to reply. Poland’s Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Markets, was one of the EC members behind the demand.

Apart from Poland the other countries which have informed the EC of the problem are the Baltic States, Hungary, Romania and the United Kingdom.

Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz held a telephone discussion with her German counterpart Angela Merkel over the issue, which according to a government spokeswoman was intended “to send a clear and explicit declaration that this issue is extremely important and significant for Ewa Kopacz and she is treating it as a priority.”

However, Germany’s government has restated that it believes the application of the minimum wage law is permissible under EU laws.

Christian Westhoff, a German Labour Ministry spokesman, assured that his Ministry is in contact with Poland and other countries involved in the issue.

“We are explaining and remain ready to explain our stance.”

He added that German trade unions were putting pressure on the German government not to back down. (sl)

Source: Polish Radio, Reuters

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