According to a President’s decree from 1999, private sector’s nominal minimum wage is only 20 GEL/month. Today, workers earn more than this but considering wages of less than 100 GEL/month, there is still an urgent need for action. In a panel discussion organized by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung on 8 February, the topic of minimum wage was discussed with representatives of trade unions, employers, government and civil society. Ms. Kramme argued that introducing a minimum wage has been the right answer to precarious wages in Germany. Contrary to many expectations, the minimum wage has not led to job losses. Half a year after its introduction on 1 January 2015, there were roughly 600.000 more employees included into the German social insurance system than a year before, whilst the unemployment rate has been steadily decreasing. The German minimum wage has raised incomes for roughly 4 million German workers, and thus supported domestic consumption and economic growth. Ms. Kramme encouraged Georgia to consider the German and other international experience in its debate on reforming the minimum wage.
On 7 February, Mrs. Kramme had a round-table discussion with civil society organisations at the FES office and learned about the most pressing problems they face nowadays. Among others, controversial reforms at Georgia’s Public Broadcaster and high poverty in the regions have been topics of that meeting.