Workers' share of economic prosperity down in 18 EU member states

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Workers in two thirds of EU member states are receiving a smaller share of their country’s GDP than they were at the beginning of the decade, official figures show.

European Commission statistics show wage share – a key indicator of inequality - has fallen in 18 member states between 2010 and 2019.

Ireland saw the biggest fall in the percentage of GDP paid out in wages at 19%*, ahead of Croatia (11), Cyprus (6), Portugal (5) and Malta (5).  

The ETUC is highlighting these figures, which show working people are receiving a smaller share of the economic prosperity they help create, during the European Commission’s consultation on fair minimum wages.

List of the 18 EU member states where the wage share has fallen between 2009 and 2019

Country Wage share 2019 Wage share 2009 Change
       
Ireland 33.9% 53.1% -19.2
Croatia 52.1% 62.9% -10.8
Cyprus 49.7% 55.7% -6
Portugal 52.1% 57.6% -5.5
Malta 45.7% 51% -5.3
Greece 49.6% 54.1% -4.5
Spain 53.5% 57.8% -4.2
Finland 52.6% 56.6% -4
Belgium 59.2% 62.3% - 3.1
Denmark 55.9% 58.8% - 2.9
Hungary 46.6% 48.8% -2.2
Netherlands 57.2% 59.2% -2
Luxembourg 53.9% 55.2% -1.4
Slovenia 62% 62.9% -0.9
Italy 53.3% 54.1% -0.8
France 57.3% 57.5% -0.2
Austria 54.9% 55% -0.1
Sweden 49.6% 49.7% -0.1
       
Euro Area 56.3% 57.1% -0.8
EU 56.2% 56.9% -0.7

ETUC Deputy General Secretary Esther Lynch said:

“Ursula von der Leyen has pledged that the new European Commission will create an ‘economy that works for people’, which is a laudable goal that we fully support.

“But the Commission’s figures show that people in most member states are receiving a smaller share of the wealth they work hard to generate than they were at the start of the decade.

“So von der Leyen will need to bring forward game changing proposals which drive up wages across Europe to deliver on her pledge.

“Raising statutory minimum wages in the countries where they exist would be a start, but workers also need the right to join a trade union and bargain collectively in order to get a genuinely fair share.”

Note:

* Questions have been raised about the value of Irish GDP data due to the activities of a number of large multinationals, including for tax planning purposes.

10.02.2020
Press release