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French government blasted for raising minimum wage by just nine cents

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French government blasted for raising minimum wage by just nine cents
17:28 CET+01:00
It might be Christmas but the French government is not giving away any gifts for those on the minimum wage.

It might be Christmas but the French government is not giving away any gifts for those on the minimum wage.

The government announced on Monday the minimum wage known as the "SMIC" would not be given a boost, other than the automatic raise of 0.93 percent.

This comes despite President François Hollande saying earlier  this month that he would concentrate on fighting for the weakest before he steps down in May 2017.

That tiny increase is the equivalent of nine centimes in the minimum hourly wage, which will rise from €9.67 to €9.76. That means the monthly minimum wage will increase by around €14 a month to €1,466 (before tax for 35 hours a week, €1141 after tax.)

Although that tiny increase has angered some leftist trade unions who wanted a noticeable rise, it did not come as a surprise after a group of experts advised the labour ministry against a significant rise arguing it could destabilize an already fragile economy.

The last time Franc's minimum wage was given a significant boost was after the election of François Hollande in 2012, when it was hiked by two percent.

France’s Twittersphere was left severely unimpressed and naturally resorted to mocking.

The word SMIC was the top trend on Twitter most of the day, a sure sign that people were letting off a bit of steam through the social media channel.

“I’m announcing that I am quitting Twitter in the New Year after the rise in the minimum wage, I want to take advantage and travel,” said Twitter user Tanguette.

Another tweeted: "Ferrari sales staff inundated with requests from those on the minimum wage after the 0.93 percent rise".

Others were too angry to see the funny side however. Many pointed out how the Socialist government had helped businesses save million by lowering payroll taxes, but failed to reduce salaries for France's lowest paid workers.

"On the one side the rise of the SMIC by 10 centimes per hour and on the other the billions handed over to businesses. This government is a disgrace to the left,” said Thomas Portes.

Many also made the comparison with Monday's court ruling for IMF chief Christine Lagarde, who was convicted of negligence over a €400 million payout to French tycoon Bernard Tapie, but not punished.

"Two pieces of good news today. One is the rise of the minimum wage and the other is the decriminalization of negligence worth €400 million. We have had worse Mondays..." tweeted @le2agauche.

 

 

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