Maria Karamessini
Damian Grimshaw

This chapter argues that disengagement with participative processes of social dialogue has been a notable feature of recent minimum wage reforms in Greece and the UK. In Greece, the government actively dismantled collective bargaining institutions under pressures from international credit bodies represented by the Troika and replaced a longstanding bipartite process of minimum wage fixing with unilateral statutory intervention, featuring a 22 percent cut in 2012 and subsequent freeze. Negotiations during 2016-17 between the Greek government and its international creditors are likely to conclude in either reasserting bipartite bargaining or introducing tripartite dialogue in minimum wage fixing. Since its inception the UK minimum wage fixing process has only had a weak element of tripartite decision-making, represented in the composition of members of the independent Low Pay Commission, the body that fixes the minimum wage each year. However, from 2016 this element of tripartism was curtailed when the government changed its approach and announced a new unilateral approach to fixing an adult ‘premium rate’. This reduced tripartite influence to workers aged under 25 years old only. The risk is that the minimum wage becomes further isolated from other wage-setting procedures in the economy, diminishing the prospects to address problems of wage inequality through social dialogue.

in Making work more equal