The relevant Greek labor minister this week cited three primary axes over which negotiations with institutional creditors, specifically on the latter’s demands for labor sector reforms, will revolve this autumn.
Creditors, especially the IMF, have repeatedly pointed to labor market reforms as imperative for concluding the second review of the current Greek program (third bailout). Nevertheless, the demands, including a re-calculation of the minimum monthly wage downwards, as well as a lifting of restrictions on mass layoffs and a liberalized framework for union and industrial actions, are expected to face sharp opposition in the country -- including but no limited to the ruling leftist party’s grass roots.
Labor minister Giorgos Katrougalos, however, remained steadfast in saying that only the framework for collective bargaining, mass layoffs and the union framework were up for discussion.
He again reiterated that there “is no issue” of eliminating the so-called “13th” and “14th” salaries in the private sector. The extra monthly salaries are paid out during the Christmas holiday, and then divided into half a salary prior to Easter and another half ahead of an employee’s summer holiday.
Katrougalos’ position in the face of expected tough negotiations is a common text signed by “social partners” in Greece over the past week, including the biggest employers’ groups.
What the Greek government aims for is the acceptance of “best practice” laws and provisions of other EU countries in instituting labor sector reforms.