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Labor market. Minimum wage. There are union positions

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According to NSZZ “Solidarność”, the government’s proposal regarding the minimum wage in 2024 is in line with expectations and meets the demands of the union. OPZZ, on the other hand, does not accept the government’s proposals, but is open to dialogue. According to the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers, the minimum wage should be differentiated or frozen at the current level.

the Council of Ministers adopted on Tuesday proposals for the amount of the minimum wage for work and minimum hourly ratewhich are to apply in 2024. It was proposed that the lowest salary would be PLN 4,242 gross from January, and increase to PLN 4,300 gross from July.

NSZZ “Solidarity”: the proposal meets the demands of the union

– It is in line with the predictions, with earlier announcements, and its level is so important that it meets the demands of Solidarity – the KK spokesman told PAP NSZZ “Solidarity“Mark Lewandowski.

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He noted that there is still half a year until this minimum wage will take effect. He also reminded that last year “the government also announced the minimum wage – it was also quite solid – but then, during bilateral negotiations with Solidarity, it was significantly increased. In July it will reach PLN 3,600.”

He pointed out that “if economic development is better, if the macroeconomic situation is better, Solidarity will certainly try to talk about the minimum wage within a year,” Lewandowski assured. He added that he did not know what the outcome of these talks would be, but that is what negotiations and compromises are all about in order to reach an agreement.

– The government’s decision at the moment meets the postulates of Solidarity, but if the situation is better, if inflation will fall faster if the economic development is better than expected, we do not rule out that we will try to talk about the minimum wage – about its increase – summed up Lewandowski.

OPZZ: our assessment is negative

The National Alliance of Trade Unions (OPZZ) does not accept the minimum wage proposal for 2024 presented on Tuesday at the Council of Ministers. – Our assessment of the proposal – which was presented by Minister Marlena Maląg – is negative, it is almost PLN 150 less on average than we proposed in May, Norbert Kusiak, director of the economic policy department of OPZZ, told PAP.

– However, we are open to dialogue and seeking a compromise solution in the Social Dialogue Council. However, it must take into account the real needs of people receiving the minimum wage and reflect the financial potential of enterprises and the good condition of public finances – noted Kusiak.

He reminded that OPZZ proposed an average annual increase in the minimum wage to at least PLN 4,420, and the government proposed an average increase of PLN 4,271.

– We should look at the proposed increase next year, bearing in mind the very high inflation this year and the forecasts for 2024 – he said. He mentioned that the government had revised its initial forecast from the long-term financial plan and raised the projected inflation rate to 6.6 percent, which should justify a higher proposal.

He noted that the increase in inflation worsens the condition of families with the lowest income, which very often earn the lowest national income.

He pointed out that “the government’s proposal is practically only PLN 22 above the statutory minimum calculated by the government.”

It seems that the statutory minimum calculated by the government does not include 2/3 of GDP, which, according to OPZZ, should be included in the minimum wage calculation algorithm.

– There is a dispute between us and the government on how to calculate the minimum wage. We believe that the algorithm, in addition to inflation, should include an indicator of 2/3 of GDP, because the amount of the minimum wage is lower than half of the average wage in the first quarter. The government is of a different opinion, because it uses the minimum wage of PLN 3,600 for comparison, and we calculate the relation to PLN 3,490, i.e. the value in force in the first half of the year. Unfortunately, the law in this regard is imprecise, he said.

– We look at the minimum wage from the employee’s perspective, but also from the point of view of the economy and the financial capabilities of enterprises – he added. He noted that the minimum wage – which according to OPZZ should be even higher – creates consumer demand and incomes of enterprises. He added that “already today everyone is complaining that retail sales and industrial production are falling.” – This includes consequence of low real wages and high inflation – he stressed.

According to Kusiak, the increase in the minimum wage will not have a negative impact on entrepreneurs. – For entrepreneurs, the biggest barrier is the issue of energy and material consumption, not the issue of wages, including the minimum wage – he said. The increase in the minimum wage does not threaten the functioning of companies. – Enterprises will cope with such an increase in the minimum wage, and even with a higher one, because there is still room to raise wages – summed up Kusiak.

When asked about what was going to happen at the Social Dialogue Council, he said that it would be difficult to reach an agreement, but it is worth conducting a dialogue on this matter, because this issue concerns a large group of employees and enterprises.

– With these disproportions in expectations, it will be difficult to find a consensus, unless the government side accepts our arguments regarding falling real household income, high inflation and high spending of households with the lowest income – said Kusiak.

“Employment will become a luxury”

– The problem of the minimum wage concerns the economically weakest – the president of the Association of Entrepreneurs and Employers (ZPP) Cezary Kaźmierczak told PAP. He noted that the problem affects about 25 percent. the economically weakest regions of the country, where an employment contract – according to Kaźmierczak – will become a luxury.

– We have repeatedly postulated that the minimum wage should be differentiated, and preferably that it should not exist at all – reminded Kaźmierczak.

He stated that if the minimum wage had to be defined, it should be differentiated in different regions of the country. What does 4,000 mean? in Podlasie or Podkarpacie, and something else in Warsaw or Wrocław – he added.

He mentioned that raising the minimum wage is a political issue. – This is a political decision, but the wrong one. They want to win the favor of voters, but those voters are few. In my opinion, this is a calculation based on wishful thinking, not reality.

According to Kaźmierczak, the minimum wage proposal proposed by the government “is not terribly dangerous”. – We have a record professional activity and a very good situation on the labor market – he added.

– We demand that this should not be raised (the minimum wage in 2024 – ed.), just like all employers (…). The best thing from the economic point of view – employees too – would be not to raise this minimum wage – summed up Kaźmierczak.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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