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Overthrow of Labor Rights: 5-Days Week to be Abolished by Troika’s Demand

While Greek government tries to save the country, the citizens are pushed into even greater misery. Incomes decrease, salaries, pensions and wages are cut, recession and unemployment blooming. Now an e-mail sent by the Troika to Ministries of Finance and Labor reminds the Greek government of some of its obligations that Samaras government seems to have pretended that they were not there. Too much worried about uncontrolled reactions by trade unions. 

Troika’s e-mail puts on the table a new overthrow of labor relations and rights. The e-mail arrived on Friday, just days before the Troika representatives return to Athens and is a further step into reaching the much-anticipated labour level: turning Greece into a third-world branch within the boundaries of the European Union. It paves the way for a violent overthrow of labor rights.

According to daily “Imerisia“, the Troika demands:

“”Reducing the high cost of entry and exit of workers from the labor market” (ie employees’ compensations due to lay-off or retirement) and “increasing the flexibility of work programs (ie disconnection of working hours of employees from the opening hours of businesses, arrangements between employers and employees on daily basis).

In simple language “greater flexibility in working hours of employees” translates into:

  •  5-Days Week to turn into a 6-Days Week. The minimum resting hours should be decreased into 11 per day. Which means, an employee could be called to work 13 hours per day. Also existing restrictions on switching between morning and afternoon shifts should be abolished.
  • Employers could hire, fire and have employees working according to the business needs.
  • Shortening of time to announce employees’ lay-off. The Troika considers the time of 4 up to 6 months as too long.
  • Further reduce the compensation for lay-off by 50%.
  • Reduction of contributions to social insurance.

The Troika’s efforts and demands to abolishing labour rights are no new. They are part of Greece’s lenders’ “great vision of boosting competitiveness.”

The first overthrown of labor rights occurred with the first bailout agreement of 2010, the second last February, short before the second bailout, when the minimum salaries decreased by 22% and 32%.

To the grim-coloured canvas of labor rights, most probably the cut of unemployment allowances for seasonal workers in tourism, hotels, construction would be added. Much is said about it when it comes to 11.5-billion-euro austerity package, however as nothing has been officially announced yet, I have refrained from posting about it so far.

Greek Rat Escaped Labor Lab

Greek Governments Usually Agree

Sadly enough, every Greek government has complied without objection with any Troika demands, when it came to abolish labor rights and decrease of minimum salaries, replacing money with a bag of peanuts. 

Every Greek government and politician and member of the Parliament accepted and voted for such measures. It’s not their money. It’s not money and rights they have to cope with. It’s money and rights that affect the private sector. Not their friends in the public administration.

They can take 10,000 measures, decrease salaries down to 100 euro per month and have people work 24/7. The taboo of “slavery” has been broken anyway in our modern language use, Monaterists see ‘competitiveness only in abolishing labor laws.

  Without plans for growth and development, “competitiveness” will remain the attractive title on empty desks of non-elected EU officials. 

Unless that’s the conspiracy: Bring down Greeks’ salaries, then have multinationals and joint ventures of our friends to invest in Greece and make profit by paying one banana to the working monkeys, 50 cents to social insurance funds and health care. 

PS I’m waiting for the day, when multinational insurance companies will start offering “attractive” packages for private healthcare and pension to Greeks, who will be obliged to sign them as they will receive zero health care and zero pension-euro from the state.

 

 

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28 comments

  1. Excuse me KTG, but what the hell is wrong with “Employers could hire, fire and have employees working according to the business needs.”

    Yes, what else? Am I as an employer supposed to take over any other risk than that?

    Hiring a person means a contract: I as an employer buy working time. I pay for it. If I don’t need the working time any more, because my business does not run well – I cancel the contract.

    Best

  2. Depends on the side you look at the issue. Nothing is wrong for the employer.But for the employee:
    Your employer can tell you “come work today and again for one day next week.” and thus on short notice. I see nothing wrong either, except that you may get a job, think your will work full time and earn 600 euro but at the end of the month you go home with 200 euro because you worked much less than the contract you signed.

    We’re talking about labor rights here, for which people lost their lives long-long time ago. Remember?

  3. Unless that’s the conspiracy: Bring down Greeks’ salaries, then have multinationals and joint ventures of our friends to invest in Greece and make profit by paying one banana to the working monkeys, 50 cents to social insurance funds and health care

    I’m afraid this is not the conspiracy, this is indeed the plan, and on a few occasions stated as such. A few EU “chiefs” have come out in the recent past with statements about wages in Greece having “to drop further”, “wages should be around 400 a month to be competitive” etc.

    Not so long ago a meeting was held on the island here, and it was explicitely stated by the visiting “EU specialist” that no investment would take place in Greece unless the monthly wage dropped to 4oo EUR or less a month.

    The plan also clearly states less contributions to social insurance. you can be very sure that that does not mean less contributions for the employee…

    It has been stated over and over again, this is the ultimate goal for the neo-liberal mandarins in Brussels/Paris/Berlin. A periphery of cheap labour countries, supplying the work force to the centre economies, and thereby driving the wages in those countries down, so that even more money can be made.
    What the whole thing does to the labour force is totally besides the point. Their local economies have been raised to the ground and will be kept there by starving the whole place of investment.
    Unles of course we (=Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and soon Italy)P allow the occupation by EU apparatchiks who will come and tell us how to be good little obedient Europeans and might throw the odd crumb in terms of local employment our way if we are really good.
    But that will of course have to happen in a bubble zone where no taxes are levied on the employers, little or no regulation is exercised, and if the above happens, labour laws are non-existing.

    When we mention child labour or sweat shops in third world countries, everybody cringes in disgust.
    could anybody tell me the difference between this and those so disgusting practices?

  4. there are children, here are adults- they need to feed families and elderly parents? no one would need a family in the future. Why bother with extra loads if you earn 400 euro and you can’t even feed yourself? when you’re out of the labor market, they can relocate from other countries of the impoverished EU-members.
    BTW: any link available about that meeting on the island? Must have missed that great enlightment opportunity.

  5. I’ll go rooting for the link, it was in March/April of this year.
    Sweatshops are not always children. You want to look up Nike in Indonesia for example. I used to work with a Belgian guy who was married to a Thai girl, and they lived in Thailand. Down the road from where they lived was a factory that made “Lacoste” T-shirts, but without the logo on it. cost? 3 for 1$

  6. Most of these conditions are common practice in my ‘other’ country. And I would love to have just a 6 day working week and 11 hours resting, as I am working 24/7 for the last couple of years.
    Flexibility does not have to be a bad thing. It can make things easier. Take the lack of Employment agencies here in Greece. When I was out of a job I used to work for Employment agencies on and off. It gave me a wealth of experience and landed me jobs I otherwise would not have thought of.

    you may work metaphorically 24/7 because you’re your own boss, work next to your living room and thus in a creative profession. You cannot compair with working in a bakery, a super market or a factory and thus as employee.

  7. Employment agencies will come after the big investments. it’s too early now. Rent a Labor force for 10 euro per day lol I know people in Germany who move around every couple of months, new city, new job and thus since a couple of years. They forgot to make a family and what it is to have a social life.

  8. I know of Employment Agencies who tried to get a food hold here and never succeeded when the things were still looking up. Germany also resisted for a long time, tooth and nail. And probably did not implement the rules and regulations there are in Holland around these Agencies. (You are officially employed by them; they pay your IKA; when you get unemployed you do not need stamps or so, you will have the same rights as anybody else: one year unemployment benefits of 70% of your last earnings and then undefined welfare; sick leave and full insurance; even 20 days holidays a year and money for that, to name just a couple of rules)
    What’s wrong with moving around and having work for a couple of years already, compared with the 50%+ youth unemployment here or in Spain? Will they ever be making a family? If they do, they are nuts.
    And what about the 50+ year olds from the private sector who lost their jobs the last couple of years? No pension, no insurance. Nothing. Thanks, but I prefer changing jobs every couple of months above that faith.
    And when you are self-employed, like I am, this is also very common.

  9. try it in real life in Holland for a couple of years, like a decade or more.

  10. I have worked that way for years. And it is common place there now for about 40 years or so. Even this winter, my wife enrolled in them to bring in some hard needed cash until we managed to ‘re-arrange’ things this Spring.

  11. Squabling and arguing gets no results.

    I disagree with a lot of things that are pushed onto Greece, but the reality is that we in Greece are to blame for the situation we are in we invited the Troika to our table by asking them for money to pay our bills (the public sector bills). Because we were not capable of collecting the money effectively ourselves.

    We voted time and time again the same politicians that were secretly destroying our nation from within. Because they wanted to please their freinds in the Global Business Club, they were not doing things for Greece but for the Goldmann Sach’s, Chase Manhattan’s, for the British, for the USA, for Germany, for France etc. It was like that speech or warning from the ex President George W Bush, “You are either with us or against us” (in what we decide we want to do to the world).

    And now our government does as it is told.

    We are afraid of looking for the right leaders and voting for them instead we have a line-up of clowns and puppets who do what they are told and the people that pay for this is the average Greek person.

    And of course with this wage of 400€ per month one can not afford to have a family, because that is their goal, to extinguish us in this manner. The first steps have already been taken to put Greece in the postition it is now. The second step is in motion reducing and extinguishing the Greek population. Can you see that the numbers are going down.

    Greece needs a revolution, and to stand up and once again say that famous “OXI”.

    It is because we are fighters, they have chosen us as their lab rats with all these measures. But once again we only have our selves to blame because we blindly followed our traitorous leaders. This is not Democracy this is Slavery. And it is not just happening in Greece. Greece is just the experiment if they succeed in Greece the strongest then the rest will follow easily. And in the end the Anglo Saxons will together with their allies will rule the world unhindered.

    Firstly LAW & ORDER should be establised with good Work Place Relations Laws. As i have mentioned in the past it is all so simple but who will lead this re-birth of Greece and make the people understand what their duty is. Yes paying taxes is a must, we all see it as a curse but it is a must. Without taxes we have no hospitals, no schools, no roads, no defense force, no social institutions to help the people.

    Secondly we should be charging a VIGNETTE to every non Greek Vehicle that enters Greece. Just as they do in Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and Bulgaria to name a few. And have more speed cameras to fine all the foreign cars that speed on the Greek roads, just as they do in Switzerland (just as it happened to me because i was 5km over the limit and when i returned to my home country a week later i received a letter from Switzerland with the fine to pay it into a Bank Account which they have set up in my home country to collect from non Swiss drivers).

    Now is that not extra revenue for the Swiss Government? If 100 persons per week are fined 100€ that is 10,000 Euro per week into the Government coffers. How many public servants can they pay with this? At least it is money they use for the running of state departments.

    I think that instead of borrowing again monies from the Troika we should assess how much we have in Government revenue and then divide that up to pay the Public Servants including Politicians. Less revenue for the month means less wages for the Public Servants for the month.

    Just like a buisiness, one month is good the next is bad so one month good money for the owner the next less.

    Greece just needs Good Laws and infrustructures.

    And a law that is applicable and enforced to everyone without immunity for politicians or anyone. No matter who one is.

    Greece does need Employment Agencies, because of the nature of the work in Greece. That is why in Australia, Britain, the USA, Germany, France, Austria, they have them, because that is how they orgainise so many expo’s and events such as the Oktoberfest. The majority of workers come from these Employment Agencies, for which i have worked for in the past. It is good way to get a good insight and experience how things work.

    On the down side, of working in Germany the wages are low for a person to make a decent living, one lives from day to day. With not much left over to save for something special. Renting takes up 70% of ones salary. For an ugly apartment that comes with no kitchen, the Germans in the private sector do not have it easy also. Especially when a lot of work positions are taken up by apprentices who are paid 300 to 400 Euro per month for 3 years and at the end given a paper that your apprenticeship was completed and good luck to find a job. And the companies hire the next batch of Apprentices. In this was keeping company costs down, in the name of learning on the job.

  12. Well, in a perfect world, supply and demand. If those individuals who do not wish to work with uncertain schedules, hours, etc, can not take this job and allow others who are willing to be more flexible with this type of a schedule. Ultimately, let the employer set the rules and he’ll find employees I’m sure.

    Now, the downside is what will be the quality of the employees because I certainly wouldn’t take a job like KTG’s article says, and I would look eslewhere.

  13. Whether a wage is high or low is always relative to the cost of living in the place where the wage is to be used, which in this day and age is not necessarily where the wage is earned.
    It is also becoming more and more clear that what you call the Global Business Club is getting better and better at devising ways of making more and paying less. And they are also getting better and better at using working people against each other. Right now the name of the game is to drive the wages in Europe’s largest economies down. Phase one was to create the economic wastelands on the periphery. Mission accomplished.
    Phase two is the use this resource of desperate, unemployed people to create a counter-workforce in the large economies. A workforce that, out of necessity, will work for less than the “indigenous” worker. This has 2 purposes. Firstly, it drives down the costs, and therefor drives up the profits for big business. Secondly, it sets worker against worker, allowing for willing folls like GD to get a foothold in society and divert the attention away from the real problems onto the perceived problems. It will not be long before German Neo-Nazis start assaulting imported labourers, including Greeks, in Germany.
    Phase three are the already flagged economic zones envisaged in Greece. Once these are in place, then industry itself can be exported from the larger economies to the periphery and established in those “economic zones” set up under the guidance of EU apparatchiks with the sole purpose of establishing the new Neo-Liberal economic model on prepared ground. Less rules + less control + less regulation = more profit
    The driving forces behind all this know that they cannot establish their economic model anywhere in the EU at present. Not even in Germany. By raising the peripheral economies to the ground first they have created virgin territory where they can start from scratch. Once in place, the central economies will be allowed to decline and a new playground can be set up there, to make even more money. The human cost of all of this is completely besides the point.
    It is not just Greece that needs a revolution, it is Europe that needs the revolution and the change. And the sooner it happens the better.

  14. I totally agree, and see the picture that we are aware of. But it would be great if this notice can be seen and read by as many persons workers and normal persons not just in Europe but all over the world.

    We have to open their eyes to this.

    And yes, they are playing a smart game of pitching worker against worker. The old age game of divide and conquer.

    So we the people should stand firm and say no more. We do not need any more material goods. We do not need to change our cars every 2 or 3 years, we do not need new furniture or electrical appliances every 2 or 3 years.

    Man has for so centuries survived without these luxuries, and now in the 20th and 21st centuries they have conditioned us to become bored with material things very quickly so we can spend our hard earned money on new junk.

    All we need is a fair go. A fair days pay, for a fair days work. Why do stocks and profit have to increase every day or month? They do not, just be happy that your factories are working and you Mr Big Business man should take care of your workers because without them you would not be making the money and buying your 5th Porsche, and enlarging your swimming pool.

    We are not slaves.

    We are people.

    It is ironic how CNN has a TV campaign, that says “We are fighting the battle against modern day slavery”. Where? I see it getting worse.

  15. What do you mean with it will not be long until german neo nazis…? Theese Guys do that for Years. We do not need greeks for our nazis to punch, we already have the polish people for example or the russians.

    For example we have something called a Meister Titel or master degree in english, it is a degree for manual labour, not from a university, and essentially it shows how good you are in your profession, somewhat like a university degree for manual labour.

    To get it you have to invest heavy money, have worked in your field for some time, and do some other testing. If you finally have it a firm wo would employ you has to pay you accordingly, because with it, in theory, you are very good at what you do and for certain tasks this degree is needed (to train new people in your field for example).

    but you can also get people from other countries like poland or russians etc (generally countrys with lower wages) who can do the same because theyre as good as their german counterparts in the same field. Now you can pay tthem the wage of a german trainee and most of them will be happy. Guess who lost his job now?

    This goes on for many years now and regardless of what the media tells other countries about the economic powerforce germany, the simple workbee be it manuall labour or otherwise doesnt see much of germanys suspected power.

    Of course we are still not greece and compared to you guys we cry on a very high level, but germany is definitive noiot workers paradise certainly not for workers on the low end of the wage scale.

    to the mainpost, we also have many jobgroups which dont get paid more than 600 euro a month for their 40 hour week.

    Ofc they can go to the unemployment agency and demand extra payment which the government then delivers I think now its 765 ( so its 165 plus the worked for 600) euro plus the cost for your flat, so theres that, but with germans prices of living thats next to nothing especially if you have a family.

    Again we are not greece and I hope that doesnt sounded like we have the same problems greek people are going through now, just to point out germany isnt paradise either.

  16. Meisterbrief? it’s not Master Degree (M.A.) in english, I think.

  17. No it’s not. I just didnt found anything other to compare it to. Essentially its a high degree for manual workers.

  18. yes, I know… just founded: master craftsman’s diploma!

  19. No, a “MeisterBrief” in the sense that Crom means would be the equivalent of a British City and Guilds certificate, followed by a certain about of working time, another set of tests and then resulting in a Master Craftsman certificate, or a Guild certificate as it is sometimes (wrongly!) referred to.
    It is really the equivalent of an MA, but for practical professions like wood workers, welders, car mechanics, etc.

  20. Yes Crom, I know, you guys have the Polish and the Russians/Ukranians. Years ago when I was migrating all over the place to earn a living (60s -early 70s) it was the Turks who got the raw end of the stick in Germany (If you can lay your hands on it, read “My name is Ali” by the German journalist Gunther Walraff!).
    What i meant with that sentence is that like many other Greeks, there will be a good few GD supporters forced to leave this country. I wonder how they will feel being at the receiving end of what they like to dish out here to immigrants. Memory is short. It has happened before, but somehow these clowns seem to think that when they do it to others it’s ok…

  21. According to Hans-Peter Keitel, President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), suggested to turn Greece into one huge Sonderwirtschaftszone. This one zone should of course be under the control of EU officials (or “aides” as he calls them, allowing for Greek sovereignty, at least in language).
    I’m just wondering if this is all part of the new set-up.
    The Troika insists on the Greek government making 150,000 civil servants redundant. The Germans insist on taking over the running of the country and putting EU “aides” in place. I suppose these “aides” will not (yet) be wearing black leather boots and black shirts, but will be paid for by the Greek government? Out of the savings made by sacking 150,000 Greeks maybe?

  22. Thanks for the diploma I didnt know what it was called in english. Whats funny about all the “reforms” which are forced upon the greeks is, we here in germany have a lot of problems with our wages, holidays work hours and general worker rights.

    Now its common for some our media, the baddest example would be the “Bild” to blame greeks (or spain, but mostly greeks) for it. They make it sound like most of our problems are directly related to the problems of other countries something along the lines of “germany has to pay for lazy greeks”.

    All the while people in our country are forced to work in fields they dont belong for minimum wages. For example, If you happen to have a university degree at something, a diploma in some natural science or such, and get unemployed (or never employed after university in the first place) you are forced as I mentioned to go to the unemployment agency.

    Sure they will give you youre welfare but also they will force a job onto you. And by force I mean exactly that, you could go in a callcenter for 4 euro the hour because everything that matters in germany is to scale down the number of unemployments. You will then receive exactly the same wage as you would get from welfare without working and you cant quit the job because then they will give you nothing, so you are forced to do it you ahve to live.

    If you#ve done that for a while a year or so, they will see you as “to long out of the field your supposed to work in” and file you as untrained in the system, regardless of your degree.

    so basically you have to search for a job on your own, which you wont likely get because you are to expensive, with your education and all the other things you have trained and you are now in debth for (study costs).

    Like a messiah then comes the timeworker agencies which employ you and then rent you to firms which need you, who pay less to your employer which in turn pays you a half or even a third of the wage you normally have to get.

    And thats for a job which is available and for which you are needed but nobody wants to give you. Basically a modern form of slavery. But as mentioned you cant do something about it because they will give you nothing if you quit (and 30 percent less welfareif you happen to get fired, which equals to nothing.)

    That happens in a Country which considers himself as the saviour of other countries economies but cant even get around to treat his own workforce right.

    But the “normal guy”, enraged by boulevard media, will still give the blame to other countries for all that, since “greeks are all lazy fucks who wont work right and therefore we have to pay”.

    Even in the more serious media you have to know what to look for to see things like they are posted here for example, normally theese would be announced in germany as “new plans to save money, new economic reforms in greece” without going muhch into detail.

    So as somebody who is a foreigner you could know whats going on but you wouldnt know about the total extend of theese plans, which makes it easier to enrage the people about other countries.

  23. Τhe do the same here in Greece: scale down the number of unemployed through short term jobs of 600 euro or so-called ‘education courses’ (2 months I think, where people get paid).
    @Crom even here part of population blames the others for Greece’s economy problems. Extreme-rights target (undocumented) migrants for tax evasion, when long lists of prominent or non-prominent Greeks fallen deep in tax evasion get public. These lists were leaked to the press by the finance ministry units, of course.
    Certainly, if one compares the black money human trafficers/gangs using migrants make, can come to the same profit amount of Greek tax evaders.

  24. I can give one very funny and very sad example of such jobs. In Germany you can get, if unemployed, two kinds of jobs. First is the same as you described 600 euro edu courses, which include trainings on how to apply properly for jobs.

    The Second is the so called one euro job, basically you do the work of some poor guy who is now out of his job (gardeners are a very common example as theire jobs are cut by the city and then they are replaced by euro jobbers) and get paid one euro per hour which gives you somewhat 120 euro on top of welfare. Th example I meant happened to a friend, who was unemployed and had a proper job and some workexperience under his belt, as he was in the welfare system he got tasked to count trees.

    he spend the next 2 Months (I think) walking through his city and count trees, making a list of how much there where there. Another example ive seen in some media documentation, there are facilitys which are build like supermarkets, you get send their as a buyer, acting like you are buying groceries, one euro the hour, and the reason for this is they want to teach you how to properly reintegrate into society.

    Funny enough our right wing politically and the right population didnt even blame greeks( not as much as the popular media), its not necessarry since we now have salafists in the country which are a radical moslim group which wants to create a godstate or something, I think they have declared some kind of holy war against our government, and of course the usual turks/russians/asians and whatnot people they always like to hate, so the rights are well satisfied.

    we also have the tax evaders which our finance minister tries to battle through buying illegal data cds from the swiss. Ive heard that most of the very rich greek people try to get their money out of the country, and the last sad thing ive heard was something about medical issues and people whoo have to pay upfront for care since the government medical agenvcies are indept. Well I think ive gone enough off topic.

  25. I hope, your friend did not miss the forest while counting the trees. At least, now we know how Germans manage to have data about everything: that is via one-euro-jobbers 🙂 Also the idea of ‘fake’ supermarket is great. Especially the impoverished can remember how was their former life.

    One thing I do not understand is why people taking courses have to be paid. It’s not a job, it’s education.

    Yes, you have now this man, the salafist living on social welfare.
    We could live also on one-euro job however the social welfare, which was never at German level, now it has collapsed.

    And yes, social funds have collapsed too, they have debts to pharmacists and doctors and people pay prescription medicine from their onw pockets. They get refund sometime in the future.

  26. @KTG. The social funds have not “collapsed” as in gone bustthe normal sense of the word. The contents of the accounts of the Greek social funds were stolen by, if memory serves me well, the Papademos government and used to pay of foreign creditors, isn’t that what happened 3 or 4 months ago? Remember seeing some small article about this in one of the English language Greek newspapers…