Currently, around 6.64 million workers in Germany earn less than €12 gross per hour, according to new statistics published by the Hans Böckler Foundation’ Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), a trade union-linked research foundation.
Among those now benefiting from the increase, 2.55 million are in full-time employment, according to the WSI. Nationwide, just under one in ten full-time workers and around 20 percent of part-time workers earn less than €12 per hour. Among mini-jobbers, the figure is as high as 80 percent.
Under a flagship policy of the Social Democrats (SPD), Germany’s national minimum wage is set to increase from €10.45 to €12 per hour on October 1st. The last increase was on July 1st this year.
The move is “a ray of hope in these difficult times” that will help low-paid workers handle the rising cost of living, Stefan Körzell, an executive board member of the German Trade Unions Federation (DGB), said on Tuesday.
However, the DGB said more controls were needed to ensure that workers actually receive the statutory minimum wage. According the trade unions, employees across numerous sectors are currently earning less than the legal minimum.
“The federal government must significantly increase the staffing of the responsible authority, Finanzkontrolle Schwarzarbeit,” Körzell said.
In addition to the wage hike, unions are also calling for more relief from the government to help cushion the impact of the rising cost of living.
In particular, they are advocating for energy price flat rate and an energy price cap that could be paid for by skimming off the “excess profits of the large energy and mineral oil companies”, Körzell explained.
From Wednesday, the DGB will run information campaigns on the minimum wage increase at more than 230 railway stations and market places throughout Germany.