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Germany to adopt minimum wage to help working poor

Published on Jul 2, 2014 8:37 PM
A man holds a placard during a labour union protest in support of a nationwide minimum wage in front of the Chancellery in Berlin on June 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN (AFP) - Germany is set to introduce a national minimum wage on Thursday, long resisted by conservatives who say it will make industries uncompetitive, but which is hoped will help the poor and stimulate demand.

The step was a red-line issue for the centre-left Social Democrats when they teamed up last year with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives to form a "grand coalition" government.

The minimum wage of 8.50 euros (S$14.45) an hour will eventually benefit more than five million workers in the low-wage sector when it is phased in between January 1, 2015 and 2017.

Introducing a universal minimum wage brings Europe's biggest economy in line with 21 of the EU's 28 member states, and with the wishes of the German electorate who have overwhelmingly supported the move in opinion polls.

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