© Reuters. At a party conference in Berlin on May 9, 2021, the Rhineland-Palatinate head of state Malu Dreyer from the SPD speaks on stage next to the SPD candidate for Chancellor Olaf Scholz. REUTERS / Axel Schmidt / Pool
By Joseph Nasr
BERLIN (Reuters) – Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz on Sunday vowed to raise the minimum wage after the national elections in September in the hope of support from around 10 million low-wage workers to help his Social Democrats (SPD) get a bruise on the third Avoid space.
Scholz made the promise in a speech to SPD delegates who voted for him as candidate for chancellor of their center-left party.
In polls, his party lags behind the conservatives of the Greens and Chancellor Angela Merkel and is likely to suffer the worst election result of all time.
“In my first year as Chancellor I will push for a minimum wage of 12 euros,” said Scholz. “This means a wage increase for around 10 million employees so that they can at least afford a little more.”
The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to increase the proportion of people living below the poverty line in Germany. At the end of 2019, it was at a record high of almost 16%.
The SPD reluctantly joined a coalition with Merkel’s conservative bloc after an election in 2017, though members resisted fiercely and feared that a third alliance with Merkel would damage the party’s working class appeal.
As finance minister, Scholz designed unprecedented rescue packages for the economy which, thanks to generous lifelines for companies and freelancers and the decision to keep factories open, avoided mass layoffs and weathered the crisis better than neighbors like Italy and France.
Some polls have been put by the Green ecologists in front of Merkel’s Conservatives, who will also suffer the worst results of all time on September 26th from voters disappointed by the chaotic management of the lockdowns and a slow start of vaccinations.
Other surveys have shown that the two parties are neck to neck.
The SPD, which is 14-16% in surveys, urged last year to increase the national minimum wage in four stages and to reach 10.45 euros per hour by mid-2022.
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