Low-wage workers and the 'working poor'
Low pay continues to be a feature of employment throughout Europe, with around one in seven employees in the EU estimated to have a low wage - though definitions vary considerably. Furthermore, there has been increasing attention in recent years to the phenomenon of the `working poor´ . This EIRO comparative study looks at the extent of low-paid employment and working poverty across the EU and Norway, highlighting the different definitions used, and examines the factors that lead to low pay. It then sets the issue in its industrial relations context, examining the role of minimum pay systems, set by law or collective agreement, and of trade union bargaining strength, in influencing the extent of low pay.
The comparative study was compiled on the basis of individual national reports submitted by EIRO's national centres. The text of each of these national reports is available below in Word format. The reports have not been edited or approved by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The national reports were drawn up in response to a questionnaire and should be read in conjunction with it.