The European Union is hoping to reach an agreement soon on a framework for minimum wages in the bloc guaranteeing a decent wage and living conditions for everyone, an official said Tuesday. 

The bloc needs to have a very big transformation, Nicolas Schmit, the European commissioner for jobs and social rights, said at the Davos Agenda, an annual event held by the World Economic Forum (WEF) which is being held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The minimum wage framework will be a paradigm shift for protecting labor rights, Schmit said.

“I am sure that this will extend to other places in the world where the same problems are coming up.”

Saying that the bloc is in a major transition period, he underlined that “we have to find a new paradigm also for our labor markets.”

“It is not about giving everybody a minimum income. It is about giving people new opportunities, investing in their skills.”

Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), said: “We need universal social protection and we have called for a global social protection fund.”

Universal rights mean the restoration of respect for human labor, she noted, adding that new policies and business actions are needed to create social mobility, good jobs and an equitable society for all.

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