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in certain sectors, minimums below the minimum wage weigh down purchasing power

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This will be one of the subjects of the social conference on low salaries on Monday: the scales which set the lowest salaries for each profession. Many are below the minimum wage, such as the medical analysis laboratory sector.

The unions want to put the question of branch minimums on the table, during the social conference on low wages, between the unions and the government, Monday October 16, at the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (Cese) in Paris. These are the lowest salaries in the scale for each profession. The problem is that half of the branches have a minimum below the minimum wage. This is the case for medical analysis laboratories: the sector today has seven salary levels which are below the legal minimum. This ranges from maintenance workers to secretaries, including IT specialists and couriers. All are paid the legal minimum, i.e. 1,747 euros gross per month.

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Fortunately I have my seniority bonus which puts me a little above the minimum wagesays Étienne Leclerc, courier in a Synlab laboratory, in Wasquehal (North). Since Covid, our salaries have almost stagnated. We thought it was going to be a springboard for our business and for our salaries. But not at all.“That’s also what Alison thought. Looking a little tired, the young woman leaves her laboratory in Marcq-en-Barœul, a few kilometers away. After starting as a maintenance agent, she then trained , to become a secretary. Without any real results on her pay slip, since she now earns a little more than the minimum wage, around a hundred euros gross per month. “Since my divorce, I have been living with my parents, with my 7-year-old daughter. And now, it’s really very complicated to find accommodation with the salary I currently have“, she tells franceinfo. She is thinking about stopping.

“From time to time a bounty fell”

And more and more of them are leaving their laboratory to go to the highest bidder. This is the case of Mathilde, technician. A position with a bac +2 at least, which also starts at minimum wage. “I wanted to move to be closer to my work, she explains. Except that given my salary, I couldn’t have anything. Or I had to go into shared accommodation, or take out a loan.”

At 52, Jocelyne, also a technician, considers herself better off. She receives 2,500 euros net per month, negotiated during her first years. “My little career”, she smiled. But on closer inspection, his pay slips do not change. “240 euros net per month more, in fourteen years. I have less purchasing power, I am less comfortable than thirteen years ago. It’s crazy though! From time to time a bounty fell. A Covid bonus, the Macron bonuses, there… but that’s all.

For almost a year, mandatory negotiations in the sector have been at a standstill. After considerable profits during the Covid pandemic, laboratory bosses explain that they must first reimburse what health insurance asks of them. Result: salary scales which do not change, or too little, when the minimum wage and inflation continue to increase. “The grid loses its reasons for existing, believes Étienne Leclerc, that is to say, the scaling of qualifications and skills no longer makes sense. Our salaries no longer have any meaning today.

The increase in the minimum wage expected next January should move the sector from 7 to 9 levels below the minimum wage. Some unions such as the CFDT are calling for sanctions against companies whose salary scales start below the minimum wage, for example by depriving them of public aid or exemption from contributions.

Medical analysis laboratory employees worried about their salaries – Report by Camille Marigaux



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