Minister George Katrougalos signed a joint statement on labour issues with the social partners

Labour, Social Insurance and Social Solidarity Minister George Katrougalos on Tuesday signed a joint statement on labour issues with the social partners, in a bid to create a solid national social front ahead of the negotiations with the institutions in September on a review of the Greek programme.

After the meeting, Katrougalos noted that the document signed by social partners will form the core of Greece’s national position in the talks.

“They agreed that we can accept as optimum practices only those that are compatible with the European social model.

They asked for social dialogue to be strengthened and stipulated that it should not be up to the state to decide the minimum wage but that this should be set through collective bargaining and have general application. They referred to restoring sector-level negotiations and the extensibility of collective labour agreements. They consider that there is no issue of amending existing legislation on lockouts or mass layoffs,” he said.

The minister noted that the negotiations in September would not be easy but expressed hope that after a united front had been reached on the level of the social partners, there would also be a united front on the level of political parties, urging the opposition to also adopt this strategy.

The minister had met with the trade union and employer organisations that take part in the negotiations to set the national collective labour agreement. The meeting produced a document noting agreement on five key points.
In addition to demanding that the legal minimum wage be set through collective bargaining by the social partners, it also ruled out any further reduction of the minimum wage or the abolition of the 13th and 14th bonus wages given under the Greek payment systems.

While agreeing to amendments in order to modernise the 1982 labour law, they stressed that the changes must not dispute the right to strike or the protection afforded to trade union action under the Constitution.