Greece is established for the biggest shake-up of functioning daily life in many years after its pro-business enterprise govt sought to model parliament’s passage of controversial labour legislation as a fresh start off for a nation at the time at the centre of Europe’s economical disaster.
The passage of laws described as antediluvian by opponents and positively life-switching by supporters came within just hrs of the EU’s prime executive arriving in Athens on Thursday to endorse a post-pandemic recovery approach for the state.
“Today I am incredibly pleased to announce that the commission has provided the inexperienced light for Greece’s national restoration approach,” the European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, stated in a speech at Athens’s historic agora as the primary minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, stood upcoming to her. “This approach … belongs to the Greek men and women and will renovate the Greek economic system.”
Dubbed Greece 2., the plan foresees €30.5bn (£26bn) in grants and financial loans currently being unlocked to assist 175 important investments in regions ranging from the environment to electronic reform.
The jubilant scenes were in stark contrast to the strikes, demonstrations and fiery discussion that experienced unfolded before MPs late on Wednesday voted via labour reforms likened by the veteran trade unionist Grigoris Kalomiris to “Thatcherite guidelines on steroids”. The steps incorporate alterations these types of as allowing for workforce to decide for a lengthier performing day in exchange for time off.
For Mitsotakis, a former banker bent on modernising the overall economy, the place of work adjustments are prolonged overdue. Addressing the chamber prior to 158 deputies endorsing the work legal guidelines, he termed the reforms important, indicating the invoice would provide Greece in line with the relaxation of Europe by overhauling legislation that dates back again to a pre-world-wide-web period and aligning it with the electronic age.
The reforms also set rules on distant function and consist of safeguards in opposition to sexual harassment in the place of work.
“The nucleus of this laws is employee-friendly, it is deeply expansion-oriented,” he advised the 300-member property, dismissing promises it would formally abolish the 8-hour working working day.
Mitsotakis’s centre-proper administration has confronted intense resistance above the bill. Opposition functions have decried the reforms, arguing they roll back again prolonged-set up workers’ rights in the identify of overall flexibility and EU diktats that erode lawful protections.
Mitsotakis is accused by critics of exploiting lockdowns imposed as a outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic to ram the contentious invoice by means of parliament.
“You are baptising the middle ages, the Enlightenment … [with] the logic of a lot more perform, a lot less pay back, no security,” claimed the leftwing Syriza occasion leader and previous prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, vowing to annul the reforms if he wins the future election.
Underneath the laws employees will be compelled to operate extra time, Tsipras explained, but would have to be content with “a day off in its place of extra pay”. He extra: “This suggests working additional for less fork out and devoid of [job] stability.”
The centre-left Movement for Adjust party described the regulations as “ruthless”, proclaiming passage of reforms this kind of as paternity leave had been a fig leaf for the adoption of neoliberal procedures that would aid dismissals and avoid strike action.
“In the experience of these procedures any progressive citizen are unable to continue being indifferent or silent,” its chief, Fofi Gennimata, said. “Time off does not fork out the expenses or holiday seasons.”
The reforms have been also blasted as a crystal clear attempt to crack the electricity of trade unions, with opponents citing the stipulation that enterprises, together with public utilities, continue to run with a 3rd of “security personnel” when strikes are named.
“Every right, each accountability that unions have gained has been undermined,” Kalomiris instructed the Guardian. “Collective perform agreements have been annulled by specific perform contracts that favour businesses. The eight-hour workday has been changed by 10-hour workdays with the guarantee of considerably less get the job done on other times and overtime payments becoming lost.
“What we are looking at, 40 yrs later on, are Thatcherite procedures on steroids.”
In a nation with a vibrant custom of unions organising walkouts and protest rallies, it remained to be found whether or not numerous of the actions could be enforced, he warned.
“This is a country wherever unemployment officially is still about 15%,” he stated, insisting that the authentic figure following the pandemic was much more like 20%.
“There is no way in this kind of a weather that strike motion will be obstructed. We will use all our might to resist it.”