Employment: a look back at the history of the minimum wage, a French initiative



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At the beginning of October, the minimum wage will naturally increase by 35 euros. The opportunity for the 12/13 teams to review the history of the minimum wage since its creation in France.

In 1950, France recovered from the war, but wages remained very low as at the start of the world conflict. Many citizens are struggling to make ends meet. To face this problem, the State decided to guarantee a minimum wage for living, it is the birth of the SMIG. It is indexed to rising prices to fight inflation. This major initiative will be respected by the majority of presidents including General de Gaulle, a great architect of the history of the minimum wage.

In 1970, a big change took place while Georges Pompidou was in power. The “G” of SMIG, which stood for guarantee, is replaced by a “C” which stands for growth. A revolution which aimed to improve the quality of life of low wages. In 1969, the Minister of Labor at the time, Joseph Fontanet, announced that the minimum wage would increase systematically from year to year. In 1981, when the Socialists came to power, the minimum wage will experience its largest increase.

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