Lindner rejects the Chancellor’s proposal for a higher minimum wage

As of: May 15, 2024 10:44 a.m

If the Chancellor had his way, the minimum wage should gradually increase to 15 euros. But Scholz did the calculation without Finance Minister Lindner: he unequivocally rejected the request.

Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner has rejected Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s proposal to increase the statutory minimum wage. The FDP chairman told the newspapers of the Funke media group that it was legitimate for the Chancellor to also be active as an election campaigner. “The coalition agreement for this legislative period clearly states that wage determination is not a matter for the parties.” In the long run, it would be dangerous for jobs if politics got involved here.

Lindner criticized the behavior of the coalition partner SPD in general. “The SPD continually makes proposals that do not fit the coalition agreement for this legislative period,” he said. “The only new thing is that the Chancellor is now also taking part in this. I hope that the SPD’s feigned outrage will end when the FDP puts forward ideas independently.”

Criticism also from the CDU

Scholz had spoken out in favor of increasing the minimum wage initially to 14 euros and then to 15 euros. The lower wage limit has been 12.41 euros since the beginning of 2024, and a further increase of 41 cents is planned for the beginning of 2025 in accordance with the minimum wage commission set by employers and unions last year.

The chairwoman of the CDU medium-sized business association, Gitta Connemann, also argued in a similar way to Lindner in her criticism of the Chancellor’s initiative. In the Deutschlandfunk She said that such a discussion should not be held on election posters, as this would mean sacrificing the issue of the minimum wage to populism. Wage determination is not a political responsibility; the Chancellor apparently did not understand that. Connemann emphasized that a reduction in taxes and duties would make more sense than raising the minimum wage.

Bold against political fixation

Even though calls for a minimum wage of 15 euros have increased in recent weeks from the ranks of the SPD, as well as the Greens and trade unions, there are also voices within the Social Democrats who believe that a political determination is wrong.

SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert spoke out strictly against it. “The Minimum Wage Commission is and remains the predestined place to decide on the further development of the minimum wage,” said Kühnert to the Tagesspiegel. “However, these decisions can only be accepted if they are reached by consensus between employers and employees – as in any good collective bargaining.” That wasn’t the case recently, Kühnert continued. In the last adjustment set for the beginning of 2025, the employee representatives were outvoted by the employers.

Kühnert had already spoken out in favor of raising the minimum wage at the end of April: “I have an unmistakable expectation of the Minimum Wage Commission: They must propose a significant increase next time,” he told the Stuttgarter Zeitung at the time.

Independents Minimum Wage Commission

The independent permanent minimum wage commission is commissioned by the legislature to adjust the minimum wage. The committee consists of a chairman and six voting members from both the employee and employer sides as well as two advisory members from science without voting rights.

Regarding its decision-making criteria, the Commission writes: “In order to decide on the adjustment of the minimum wage, the Minimum Wage Commission examines in an overall assessment what level of the minimum wage is suitable for contributing to adequate protection of employees, for enabling fair and functioning competitive conditions and not for employment endanger.”

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