World Economy

Spain’s Low Wages Need Fixing

Spain’s Low Wages Need FixingSpain’s Low Wages Need Fixing

Spanish workers’ salaries took a hit after the 2008 crisis from which they have not yet recovered, and improving them should be the country’s priority under the newly formed government, according to the director general at chemical trade group FEIQUE.

While employers and employees are bound to clash when it comes to salary negotiations, Juan Antonio Labat conceded that Spain’s strong recovery since 2014 has had a lot to do with salaries being frozen for years or even decreasing, which allowed the country to gain competitiveness, ICIS reported.

While the Spanish average salary, according to official figures, stands at around €1,600/month ($1,862.5), the legal minimum wage remains at only €860/month in net terms–what the workers receive after taxes and social security contributions.

France and Germany’s minimum wage stands at around €1,500/month in gross terms, while the UK’s stands at around €1,400/month.

However, Labat recognized he speaks from a privileged position because the chemical industry is a sector where salaries tend to be higher due to the large number of high-skilled workers.

“There is a deep belief among employers that with the current minimum wage in place this country can’t recover a healthy path of growth. There is a lot of talk about bringing that minimum wage to €1,000/month (net) by 2020,” said Labat.

“Young people are having a hard time accessing well-paid, stable job positions. If you look at the jobs sites online, jobs that 10 years ago would have paid €30,000/year, (in gross terms) are now paying €20,000. We need to do something as a country to fix this.”

According to figures by FEIQUE, the average salary in the Spanish chemical industry stood at more than €36,000/year, gross, although sectors like high-paid pharmaceuticals are also included.


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