Germany has no shortage of regulations, useful and otherwise. But one thing that it does not have at the moment is a legally mandated national minimum wage. The United States, supposed home of neoliberal puritanism and other horrible things, has had one since 1938.
The stated reason within the German debate is that such a law would interfere in the autonomy of groups bargaining on wages and conditions. Indeed it would, and this is a feature not a bug. But the autonomy has clearly been that of groups, not of individual people. If you weren’t part of a group, you were out of luck.
The SPD and the larger unions are now moving into the late 20th century and pushing for a statutory minimum wage. Employer groups and the conservative parties, true to form, are resisting. I think it is long past time for a minimum wage, and buying an illusory autonomy at the cost of non-unionized workers has not been a good position for the German left to hold. My disposition fits very poorly with corporatism, and I am glad to see that it is being pushed back in this aspect as well.
It isn’t often that German life is under-regulated, but this one will do the country good.