REVEALED: EU firms can pay Bulgarian workers 1/5th of minimum pay in UK

How the EU undercuts UK businesses using its low minimum wages

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2021

Latest figures show EU’s shockingly un-level playing field which UK companies must compete with

The latest official figures on minimum wages in the EU show just how un-level is the ‘playing field’ which the EU talked about incessantly in the run-up to the trade deal signed by Boris Johnson on 30 December 2020.

Our Brexit Facts4EU.Org analysis of the EU’s latest official data shows that a German manufacturer basing its factory in Bulgaria would have to pay its least qualified workers less than 20% of the rate a British manufacturer would have to pay its workers in the United Kingdom.

When the EU demands ‘fair competition’ and a ‘level playing field’, most people would consider this to involve similar labour costs and workers’ rights. This is not the case. The UK is undercut by competition from EU countries with far lower wages and significantly fewer workers’ rights.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

Where is the 'fair competition' from the EU?

  • 6 EU member states have no legal minimum wage at all
  • The UK’s minimum wage is 64% above the EU average
  • Four member states have minimum wages which are less than one-third of those in the UK
  • The EU still has no minimum wage legislation, 23 years after the UK led the way

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge

On workers’ rights, the EU still lags behind the UK by over 20 years

The situation is just as bad when it comes to workers’ rights. It was the UK that led – and leads - the way on this. For example the standards for statutory holiday entitlement and maternity pay are far higher than in the EU, as we have previously reported in detail.

EU workers' and women's rights laws are lower than UK’s

  • UK statutory paid holiday entitlement is 28 days, in EU only 20 days
  • Maternity leave – UK: 52 weeks, EU: 14 weeks
  • Under EU laws, the British people's rights would decrease

Last October the EU Commission announced that it would be bringing in a ‘Directive’ on minimum wages across the EU. However 23 years after the UK enforced a national minimum wage, the EU still proposes to make their own version voluntary.

Buried down in the EU Commission’s communication about this new Directive was the following:

“It does not oblige Member States to introduce statutory minimum wages,
nor does it set a common minimum wage level.”

In other words, 23 years after the UK led the way and introduced a national minimum wage in 1998, the EU will still not have one, and furthermore it will not compel member states to introduce one.

The EU talks but does nothing

Last October the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said:

“Today's proposal for adequate minimum wages is an important signal that also in crisis times, the dignity of work must be sacred. We have seen that for too many people, work no longer pays. Workers should have access to adequate minimum wages and a decent standard of living.


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[ Sources: EU Commission statistics agency Eurostat ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Mon 08 Feb 2021

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