Low incomes leave 87% of Romanians without vacation money

More than 3 million Romanian citizens at risk of poverty (86 percent) can’t afford a summer holiday, research by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has found. Overall, 28 percent of EU citizens – 35 million people in total – can’t afford a one-week holiday away from home, but that rises to 59.5 million for people whose income is below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold (60 percent of the median).

After analyzing the available Eurostat data, the syndicate has found that the worst situation is in Greece, where 88.9 percent of people living at risk of poverty cannot afford a break. Romania seconds this figure with 86.8 percent, followed by Croatia (84.7 percent), Cyprus (79.2 percent), and Slovakia (76.1 percent).

Many Europeans with income below 60 percent of the median are unemployed or retired, but this group also includes millions of low-paid workers, particularly those earning the statutory minimum wage, the press release notes.

The biggest contributor to the poverty chart is Italy with 7 million people, followed by Spain (4.7 million), France (3.6 million), Poland (3.1 million), and Romania (3.07 million).

Vacation inequality in Romania has been growing in the past decade, the research found. The numbers speak for themselves: 86.8 percent of people with incomes below 60 percent of the median can’t afford a holiday, compared to 46.7 percent of those with higher income than the aforementioned threshold. This 40.1 percentage point gap has grown by 17.1 pp since 2010, the press release highlights.

The EUTC’s research into holiday inequality is part of its efforts to strengthen the EU’s draft directive on adequate minimum wages and collective bargaining. The syndicate is working with MEPs to include a “threshold of decency” in the legislation that would ensure statutory minimum wages could never drop below 60 percent of the median wage and 50 percent of the average wage of any member state, delivering a pay rise to more than 24 million people.

Title image: Pixabay

Author: István Fekete