The government will carry out studies on a national minimum wage in cooperation with the European Commission and the International Labour Office.
Christos Malekkides, permanent secretary of the Labour Ministry said the studies will be completed by March 2019 so that a government plan is put in place by November.
His remarks came as the House Labour Committee yesterday began examination of three separate bills submitted by opposition parties — the Greens, Citizens’ Alliance and Elam — proposing a minimum monthly wage of between €1,125 and €1,200 be introduced for all professions.
The minimum wage currently stands at €924 a month, but applies to only a few professions.
Malekkides said the government’s position that for a national minimum wage to be introduced, unemployment must fall below 5%. It currently stands at 7.2%.
Malekkides said that the ministry wants such a scheme to be successful and to contribute to supporting vulnerable groups, without harming the economy.
Trade unions have complained that they are being kept in the dark. PEO general secretary Pambis Kyritsis said the government was encouraging deregulation of the market and said the minimum wage should apply to professions that are not governed by collective agreements and be set through an agreed mechanism.
He and other trade unionists said that the first step should be to safeguard collective agreements.
Employers disagreed saying that salaries should not be set by law.
Labour Committee MPs will revisit the issue before the end of the year amid indications they will support a national minimum wage.