Five per cent of workers on minimum wage

AROUND 5.5 per cent of employees in Portugal are receiving the national minimum wage of 437 euros per month. According to Eurostat, the cabinet of statistics for the European Union, the minimum salary in 2006 varied from 130 to 1,500 euros between the 25 EU member states. Portugal was placed in the 400 to 700 euros category, joining Slovenia (512), Malta (580), Spain (631) and Greece (668).

The countries registering the lowest minimum wage were mainly new member states, including Latvia (129), Slovakia (183), Estonia (192), Poland (236), Hungary (247) and the Czech Republic (261).

Those countries whose workers received among the highest minimum wage included France (1,218), Belgium (1,234), United Kingdom (1,269), Holland (1,273), Ireland (1,293) and Luxembourg (1,503).

The percentage of employees who received the minimum wage two years ago was lowest in Spain (0.8 per cent), UK (1.4 per cent) and Malta (1.5 per cent), and highest in Luxembourg (18 per cent), France (15.6 per cent) and Lithuania (12.1 per cent).