Plans for EU-wide minimum wage face Swedish opposition

3:14 min

A European Commission plan to introduce an EU-wide minimum wage is being met with opposition in Sweden, where it is feared the country's traditional collective bargaining model for negotiating salaries could be damaged.

European Commissioner for jobs and social rights Nicolas Schmit this week launched a consultation with the aim of producing a proposal for an EU minimum wage, designed to increase standards for workers in countries with lower salaries and stop the east to west "brain drain" in the union.

But in the Nordic member states the idea is not popular. In Finland, Denmark and Sweden there is no state-set minimum wage and salaries are instead negotiated directly between unions and employers, producing some of the EU's highest average salaries.

Therese Guovelin, vice president of Sweden's largest trade union confederation LO, told Radio Sweden an EU-wide minimum wage could hamper the collective agreement model, even if a hypothetical exemption is made for the Nordics.