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Amendment changing the way strikes are declared withdrawn, govt promises to resubmit revision in next draft law

A closely watched amendment changing the way union members in Greece vote for industrial actions was abruptly withdrawn on Monday evening, with the relevant labor and social insurances ministry promising that the revision will be included in an upcoming draft bill.  

The draft amendment stipulated that strikes would be legally declared if approved by 50 percent +1 of affected dues-paying union members. Currently, a majority of union members attending an extraordinary general assembly – with the presence of at least one-third of the membership mandated – was enough to decide sector-wide strikes, with the vote usually taken via a show of hands.

The change in the Greek labor law has long been a demand by the still bailout-dependent country’s institutional creditors, especially the IMF, which has pressed for labor sector liberalization in Greece for years.

In a terse announcement, the ministry said the amendment would be resubmitted to Parliament after improvements in its language, while allowing for longer debate on the substance of the amendment in Parliament, “… so that there are no preemptive objections over the process by opposition parties.”

Another two labor sector amendments were also withdrawn from the same draft bill, which was tabled by a different ministry, including one revising the manner in which an employer compensates an employee for a work-place accident.