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Summary of the latest measures approved in Greece

category greece / turkey / cyprus | economy | press release author Friday February 17, 2012 20:29author by Ελευθεριακή Συνδικαλιστική Ένωση - ESE Report this post to the editors

The International Relations Secretariat of the Ελευθεριακή Συνδικαλιστική Ένωση (Libertarian Syndicalist Union - ESE) has sent the following summary of the recent measures adopted by the government which are responsible for unleashing the fury of the Greek people, who see how their lives and work are being trampled for the greater glory of the bosses, the financial sharks and speculators. [Castellano]

Summary of the latest measures approved in Greece

Summary of key labour measures adopted on Sunday night, 12 February 2012 in the Greek Parliament and included in the "Memorandum II":
  • 22% reduction in the minimum wage, which goes from €741 to €586 gross (€489 net). For those under 25 years, the reduction is by 30%, giving a measly €527 gross (€440 net).

  • Freeze on minimum wage until 2015 and freeze on long-service bonuses until unemployment reaches 10%.

  • De facto abolition of overtime to introduce flexible working hours in the new collective agreements.

  • Upon the termination of a collective agreement, the period for automatic renewal of the terms thereof is reduced to three months (previously six) if no new agreement is reached, in which case wages will drop to the minimum wage level. Collective agreements currently in place expire at most in a year.

  • Cuts in pensions (in supplementary pensions, but also in primary pension in cases such as workers in the electricity company, telephone company and banks, for example).

  • Abolition of job security and existing labour regulations in banks and public companies or those with a percentage of public participation, including among others the national electricity company, Hellenic Petroleum (the largest refinery in the country), the public radio and television company, public transport in Athens (buses, metro, light rail, tram and trolleybus), the post office, the national lottery and betting company, the Athens water supply company, etc.

  • Closure of the Public Housing Agency and the abolition of the contribution of 2% towards that had existed until now.

  • 5% reduction in employer contributions to social security.

  • Layoffs and early retirements in the public sector: 15,000 in total by the end of 2012; 150,000 by 2015.

  • Appealing to the Mediation and Arbitration Agency will henceforth require the agreement of both parties (workers and employers), with workers no longer being able to appeal on their own, as has been the case to date.
In short, wage losses are extremely heavy. It is estimated that unskilled workers will lose up to three months' pay per year and workers subject to sectoral agreements in some cases will lose up to half their monthly salary.

Furthermore, these measures undermine collective agreements and pave the way for the signing of individual or company agreements. The collective agreements covering about two million workers are up in the air, as they have already expired or will do so within a year, forcing them to renegotiate - at the individual or company level - the drop in their wages to the lowest levels.

It is estimated that, as far as rights and remuneration are concerned, workers are now at levels similar to those of the 1950s.

To all this must be added the increases in VAT on food, medicines, healthcare, electricity, water supply, public transport, natural gas, etc.

It should be noted that out of a total of 300 deputies, 199 voted for these measures, 74 against, 5 abstained and 22 were absent. 46 of the opposing deputies belong to the government parties but broke discipline for the vote and were immediately expelled from their respective parties. Thousands of people took to the streets to protest against this new plan of austerity and cuts which, under the guise of reducing public expenditure and saving the national economy, attacks the rights of the Greek population, especially workers.

Ελευθεριακή Συνδικαλιστική Ένωση - Διεθνείς Σχέσεις

(International Relations - Eleutheriaki Sindikalistiki Enosi - ESE)

Translation by FdCA - International Relations Office.

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