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Should Germany have a minimum wage?

Published: 13 Sep 2013 09:41 GMT+02:00

It may be the world’s fourth biggest economy, but the absence of a minimum wage has led to the exploitation of workers in some sectors of German industry.

A job centre in the state of Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania reported office workers receiving €1.37 an hour, a delivery driver on €1.55 an hour and a receptionist on €2.54 an hour.

In one case a hotel maid in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was paid 26 cents an hour, newspaper Die Welt reported.

Low pay has also become an election battle ground with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) saying it would introduce a national minimum wage expected to be set at €8.50 an hour if it wins the elections on September 22nd.

But Chancellor Merkel’s conservative CDU have refused to come out in favour of a blanket minimum wage. They believe minimum wages should be negotiated according to region and industry rather than set at national level.

Meanwhile opponents of a general legal minimum wage have long argued that it would destroy jobs, by making it unattractive for companies to keep hire. There is also the thought that it employers would put people who should be on a higher wage, onto minimum wage.

Do you agree? Should there be a minimum wage? Or is Germany functioning fine without one? Leave your comments below.

The Local/tsb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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