Minimum wage should be raised immediately

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The announced increase of the minimum wage from 12 to 14 percent would make sense only if it were valid for this year as well, according to the unions.

Negotiations on the minimum wage for 2023 between unions, employers and the state will begin in mid-August. So far, it is certain that this legally guaranteed salary will be increased by 12 to 14 percent, because that is what Aleksandar Vučić, the President of Serbia, announced, saying that the double-digit increase will be borne by the state, not the employer, which requires 300 million euros.

This means that instead of the current 35,000 dinars, the minimum in the next year should be 40,000. However, it is not entirely clear to the union representatives why the negotiations were even mentioned as a possibility, since the specific percentage increase is already widely mentioned in the public. They also believe that the minimum wage should be raised immediately, and not just in half a year, because Serbia is already facing galloping inflation that will be difficult to contain.

Ranka Savić, president of the Association of Free and Independent Trade Unions, reminds that the trade unions recently asked the government to determine the amount of the minimum wage twice a year, while the crisis lasts.

– The announced increase would only make sense if the minimum wage were to be increased immediately, and as such paid to workers now, and not if the rule only applies from 2023. In this way, inflation will nullify the mentioned difference of 5,000 dinars. The minimum consumer basket exceeds 42,500 dinars, which with the announced new minimum amount will still not be enough to survive. Therefore, the state has deceived us again – Savić is convinced.

The minimum wage in Serbia currently amounts to about 35,000 dinars and is by no means sufficient to enable a normal life, especially if it is known that even this year it is the only income for more than 350,000 people. If there is an increase, the state promises to completely relieve employers by reducing contributions and increasing the non-taxable part of income, which was announced by the president, the prime minister and the finance minister.

The position of the Union of Employers of Serbia on the amount of the increase in the minimum wage remains unchanged – this increase in Serbia should follow economic growth.

Nebojša Atanacković, the honorary president of the union, recalls that in previous years GDP growth was around 4.5 to five percent, which is why employers agreed to an annual minimum wage growth of approximately six percent in negotiations. Now inflation is already in double digits, GDP growth is between 3.5 and 4 percent, so that would be an increase that employers could accept in negotiations about the new minimum wage, Atanacković indicated. He added that it will be a lot for many employers, reports Tanjug, because most of the time they cannot raise the price of their services and products.

Starvation for those who receive the minimum wage

If the current proposal of the state to increase the minimum wage for the next year to around 40,000 dinars would “win”, this amount would currently cover around 94 percent of the minimum consumer basket in Serbia. All this, of course, under the condition that the amount of that minimum basket, which according to the last available data from March of this year was 42,500 dinars, remains at the same level during the entire next year, and that is impossible. This only leads the trade unions to the conclusion, as explained by Duško Vuković, vice-president of the Association of Independent Trade Unions of Serbia, that three-member families living on the minimum wage in Serbia will still have to go hungry in the future, at least seven days in every month, because due to the expected growth in inflation and retail prices, increases in the value of the minimum consumer basket until the end of next year,

They were led to such a conclusion by the latest analysis of the trade union consumer basket, which they did in cooperation with experts and professors dealing with nutrition.

– We made a calculation according to which the June minimum union consumer basket should be worth 51,348 dinars. From that amount, a three-member family would have about 25,000 dinars available per month for food and non-alcoholic beverages, which is about 840 per day, or 280 dinars per household member. At the same time, we are talking here about the minimum daily menu, which is created at around 1,500 calories, which is below the threshold prescribed by the World Health Organization – reveals Vuković. He adds that this means that such a family should consume 180 grams of meat, 200 grams of vegetables, 200 grams of fruit, 200 grams of bread, a cup of milk or yogurt, 15 milliliters of oil, five grams each of salt and sugar and a cup of tea per day. one month.

– That is still not possible because the minimum is currently 35,000 dinars. Our citizens who earn so much would have to starve for ten days in that case, if they were to consume those 1,500 calories a day – emphasizes Vuković.

Until 2014, adjustment was applied twice a year

Until the last amendments to the Labor Law, which were implemented eight years ago, the minimum wage was adjusted twice a year. Since then, for the entire next year, it is determined only in September, by a decision of the SES in accordance with Article 112 of the Labor Law. If this body does not make a decision within 15 days from the start of negotiations, the Government of Serbia will decide on the minimum labor price within the next 15 days. After that follows the creation of the state budget for the following year, but it is still possible to initiate an extraordinary procedure for adjusting the minimum wage, at any time during the year. However, this has never happened so far, even though we are recording inflation growth and retail price growth, so the minimum is always trotting behind the amount of the minimum consumer basket, Politika writes.