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Last updated: September 18. 2013 6:36AM - 236 Views
Associated Press



German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the last cabinet meeting prior to the national elections at the chancellery in Berlin, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. Germany faces general elections on Sept. 22, 2013 where Chancellor and Christian Democratic Union, CDU, party chairwoman Merkel will run for her third term . (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the last cabinet meeting prior to the national elections at the chancellery in Berlin, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. Germany faces general elections on Sept. 22, 2013 where Chancellor and Christian Democratic Union, CDU, party chairwoman Merkel will run for her third term . (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
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(AP) Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet has signed off on a minimum wage deal for stonemasons at its last meeting before Sunday's election underlining its rejection of a single national standard.


Challenger Peer Steinbrueck advocates a mandatory national minimum wage of 8.50 euros ($11.35) per hour. Germany is unusual among Western countries in lacking one.


However, Merkel's center-right coalition prefers to allow employers and employees decide minimum pay on a sector-by-sector, region-by-region basis.


The government endorses those deals; Wednesday's decision brings the total to seven in four years. The deal for stonemasons foresees minimum pay of at least 10.13 euros.


Labor Minister Ursula von der Leyen told ZDF television it's "absolutely wrong" for politicians to set minimum wages. She said "the experts, unions and employers, should do it."


Associated Press
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