Italy: Meloni says he is ready to discuss minimum wage with opposition

ROME (Reuters) – Italian council president Giorgia Meloni said she is ready to discuss “reasonable” minimum wage proposals put forward by opposition parties.

Giorgia Meloni, who came to power last October, is not in favor of imposing a minimum wage, arguing that it was not the solution to raise the long-stagnant wages of Italians.

“What interests me in the salary problem is to have a part of the opposition that behaves in a fair, polite and serious manner,” he told RTL radio. He said that it is necessary to show openness.

Italian wages fell by 7.5% at the end of last year compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the biggest drop among the world’s major economies.

The opposition has introduced several bills to introduce a minimum hourly wage and Giuseppe Conte, the leader of the Five-Star Movement, has pushed for an amount of nine euros an hour before taxes.

The Italian leader’s Fratelli d’Italia party has proposed postponing formal talks on the matter until September.

The council’s president affirmed, “I am skeptical about the minimum wage as it makes for good formulae but it runs the risk of causing problems.”

“There are national collective agreements in Italy that ensure a minimum hourly wage above nine euros. There is a possibility that if the minimum wage is implemented, it will become a parameter to reduce workers’ wages,” he added.

A legal minimum wage is in place in most developed countries, and the idea is supported by outgoing Italian central bank governor Ignazio Visco, who said in May that it could be a response to “the demands of social justice”.

The Italian government has adopted various measures to reduce the tax on wages and plans to release about 10 billion euros in this direction in its budget next year.

(Reporting by Angelo Amante and Giuseppe Fonte; French edition edited by Zifan Liu, Tangi Salon)

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