Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • Limited 12-hour humanitarian truce takes effect in Gaza

    Read more

  • Video: No investigation apparent at MH17 crash site

    Read more

  • In pictures: Devastation, debris at Air Algérie crash site

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Kerry due in Paris for new round of Gaza ceasefire talks

    Read more

  • Washington Post reporter and his wife arrested in Iran

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Fans electrify the mood as Tour de France crosses the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Europe

Germany to introduce national minimum wage

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-11-21

Germany will introduce a national minimum wage, conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday, giving in to a key demand from the Social Democrats. The parties are currently in negotiations to form a ‘grand coalition’ government.

Germany is set to introduce a national minimum wage, conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday, giving in to a key demand by her likely centre-left governing partners.

"The Social Democrats will not conclude negotiations without a universal legal minimum wage," she said about ongoing talks to form a 'grand coalition' government since a September election.

She stressed that her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party does not agree with the step and added that she and her party would "try everything to prevent the loss of jobs through this measure".

Merkel won September 22 elections but fell narrowly short of a governing majority, forcing her CDU and its Bavarian partners the CSU to enter into tough coalition talks with the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

In the talks, SPD chief Sigmar Gabriel, Merkel's likely future vice chancellor, has insisted on the party's core demand of a nationwide minimum wage of at least 8.50 euros ($11.40) per hour to help Germany's growing army of working poor.

The SPD has promised to put any coalition deal up for a vote to its sceptical party base of almost half a million members, many of whom do not want their blue-collar party to govern in Merkel's shadow, but whose consent would be needed.

Merkel's party favours separate pay deals by industrial sector and region, arguing that a national minimum wage would harm many small and medium-sized businesses and could force them to lay off workers.

A patchwork of existing pay deals has set minimum wages for a dozen industrial and service sectors, including cleaners, electricians and security guards.

Minimum wage levels are often higher in western states than in the economically weaker states of the former communist East Germany. Caregivers, for example, earn nine euros an hour in the west but only eight euros in the east.

Both Germany's major parties aim to end their talks, which have been split into separate working groups, next week, with the aim of forming a government before the end of the year.

However, negotiators have said as many as 100 issues remained unresolved so far.

Merkel, meanwhile, insisted on her own party's red-line issue of not raising taxes and stressed she wanted a halt to new debt by 2015.

She argued that balanced budgets help maintain investor confidence and global competitiveness and added that "Europe's problem is that we've promised almost everything so far and have kept very little of it".

Addressing a Berlin business forum organised by Munich newspaper publisher Sueddeutsche Zeitung, she said a grand coalition was "not the heart's desire of politicians" but had resulted from the election outcome.

She said, as the talks have dragged on, that "we are not making it easy for ourselves -- you can marvel at that every day".

She said that "I too will have to consent to measures which I do not innately agree with," mentioning the minimum wage as an example.

"The voters have neither given an absolute majority to the business wing of the CDU, nor the left wing of the SPD. Only both of us together will have the ability to govern."

(AFP)

Date created : 2013-11-21

  • GERMANY

    Merkel open to coalition talks with centre-left

    Read more

  • GERMANY

    Merkel triumphs in historic elections

    Read more

  • GERMANY

    Merkel hot favourite as Germans head to the polls

    Read more

COMMENT(S)