Survey reveals vast gap in global mininum wage

minimum wage varies hugely across Europe from 4p an hour in Russia to £6.04 in
Luxembourg, a study reveals.

Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium have the next highest rates at £4.54
and £4.27.

the EU, Portugal at £1.30 and Spain at £1.13 have the lowest minimum wages.
Countries in Eastern Europe have substantially lower rates.

study by William M Mercer reveals that workers in Poland, Hungary and the Czech
Republic have minimum hourly wages of 77p, 76p and 54p respectively.

has the lowest rate at just 4p an hour, despite increases in January and July
this year.

current UK rate is £4.10. Outside Europe, the USA’s rate is set at £3.55,
Japan’s is £3.48 and in Brazil workers receive a minimum of 25p an hour.

Nasir, senior researcher at William M Mercer, said, "Such variations
usually reflect wide cross-country discrepancies in economic development,
labour conditions and pay levels generally. Pay comparisons at highly skilled
and executive levels will often paint a different picture.

minimum wage is particularly low. This could be due to its link with social
security benefits and the need to avoid increases in government expenditure."

and Sweden do not set minimum wages, while Austria, Germany and Finland do so
by occupation. These countries are excluded from comparison.

research also examined statutory working hours across Europe and worldwide. The
majority of EU countries have legislated for a maximum of 40 working hours a week.
However the UK, Denmark and Ireland have retained the maximum 48-hour working
week introduced by the Working Time Directive. By contrast, last year France
introduced a new 35-hour week, by far the lowest in the EU.

By Ben Willmott

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