Labour union head warns against low-wage explosion

Labour union head warns against low-wage explosion
"Poor despite a job," this protestor's shirt says. Photo: DPA
Frank Bsirske, head of the Verdi labour union, has warned against the growth of the low-wage sector in Germany, saying the country is well on the way to creating a US-style class of working poor.

Germany’s low-wage sector has already reached British proportions, Bsirske told the Saturday edition of the Thüringer Allgemeine newspaper. “We’re on the way to American conditions and to a poverty wage sector the likes of which can be seen nowhere else in Western Europe,” he added.

He called for the swift introduction of a minimum wage in Germany.

“We have to align ourselves with our Western European neighbours, which all have hourly minimum wages of between €8 and €9 ($11.30 to $12.70).

The need for action was especially urgent in Germany’s eastern states, Bsirske said.

“It’s time to bring an end to the reality of the starvation wage, particularly in eastern Germany,” he told the paper.

The labour union chief said he doesn’t see any threat to job growth from the introduction of a minimum wage.

“When wages increase, it spurs demand,” he said. “That will balance out any effects on the labour market.”

Jobs in Germany