BERLIN: As New Year approaches, Berlin bakery worker Jessica Arendt is not just looking forward to the fireworks. In 2015, she says, “I’ll be able to afford a few more things”.
A national minimum wage comes into effect in Germany on January 1, and that means an additional one euro (US$1.30) an hour for the 23-year-old.
Mathias Moebius, a bakery chain owner, isn’t quite so happy. He says he will have to put up prices in response.
Chancellor Angela Merkel this year signed off on the country’s first national minimum wage, an idea she had long opposed.
In the past, Merkel favoured separate pay deals by industrial sector and region, arguing that a national minimum wage would harm many small- and medium-sized businesses and could force them to lay off workers.But her coalition partners, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), were adamant that they would only enter into a power-sharing deal if Merkel and her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) agreed to the fixed basic wage to help Germany’s growing army of working poor.So, after long and tortuous negotiations, the two sides finally agreed to start phasing in a minimum wage from January 1.