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Minimum wage remains unchanged despite the crisis

11 July 2012 / 19:07:13  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

There will be no new reduction of the minimum wage in the private sector, Minister of Employment Yiannis Vroutsis said after his meeting with the leadership of the trade union of employees in the private sector.

According to its chairman Yiannis Panagopoulos, the Minister, however, did not respond to questions the union had raised in connection with the signing of a new collective agreement, changes in labour law, social policy and the aid to unemployed. The trade union leader recalled the agreement reached between representatives of private sector employees and employers in February, which included the cancellation of minimum wage cuts, keeping the 13th and 14th salaries and the transfer of the conditions of collective agreements in the individual agreements, stipulated by the memorandum.

"The government did not only reject this agreement, but the parliament has passed laws introducing the opposite in labour relations." He urged the government to recognize the outcome of the negotiations and added that the labour market in Greece consists mostly of uninsured individuals and employees, who receive no remuneration for their work.

For his part, the Minister stated that the traders and industrialists’ demand for returning the minimum wage to 701 or 751 euro with smaller cuts in the range of 5-6% was one of the topics of talks with the representatives of the supervisory Troika. "The time when we can place it for discussion will be set by the government and the parties that support it. In all cases, it will be carried out in a way to show our European partners that the country is profitable and in line with the extension of the budget consolidation programme."

A meeting of social partners for the signing of a national collective agreement is expected to take place next Tuesday, following the initiative of the Union of Greek Industrialists. They have invited for participation employers' organizations from the tourism and major commercial sites. This has raised concerns that the trade union of employees in the private sector may not respond to the invitation. Yiannis Panagopoulos, however, stated that it would participate in the dialogue, "but we will talk only with the organizations signing the national collective agreement. Those are the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises, Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen and Merchants and the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce."

The trade union of employees in the private sector has been involved in the dialogue on labour relations but has decided to hold a 24-hour strike, the exact day for which has not yet been determined. Its leadership will organize protests in early September, at the opening of the Thessaloniki International Fair, when the Prime Minister will traditionally present the government's economic programme for next year.

Tags: PoliticsSocietyLabour relationsMinimum wagePrivate sectorSocial partnersYiannis VroutsisYiannis Panagopoulos
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