Greece-Troika: Dramatic Negotiations over Labour “Reforms” That Threaten Gov’ Cohesion

Posted by in Economy, Society

 Samaras’ government is in dramatic negotiations with the Troika over the so-called “Labour Reforms” after two of the three coalition government partners rejected the Troika demands for a total overthrow of Labour Rights. A disagreement that threatens the cohesion among the government partners.

According to latest information from state broadcaster NET TV, the Troika threatened Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras to tell the Eurogroup that there was no agreement between the coalition partners on the austerity package and rejected Greece’s proposal to exclude the “Labour Reforms” from the package. Stournaras and the Troika spoke on Tuesday night in a teleconference. On Thursday there is a working group meeting of the Eurogroup.

On Tuesday evening,  PASOK-Leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left Fotis Kouvelis described the labour section of the 13.5-billion-euro austerity package as “unacceptable”.

“The unacceptable demands by the Troika are not going to give any fiscal benefit, and will only lead to a further unemployment increase,” Fotis Kouvelis told the media. He reiterated that he and DEMLEFT MPs will not vote in favor of the labour rights.

Similarly critical was Evangelos Venizelos who said that “It’s a provocation to start anew the labour right issue. Austerity discussions should not open on fronts such as labour that do not contribute anything to our financial goal. Our partners must understand we are not a protectorate.”

Venizelos was referring to an e-mail sent by German Deputy Finance Minister demanding that an escrow account* should be established where money from bailout tranches but also from tax and Value Added Tax revenues would be deposited. (I will report about it later.)

Prime Minister Samaras, Venizelos and Kouvelis had meet on Tuesday afternoon in what it seemed that there would bless the final agreement with the Troika.

Samaras had said that the austerity package should close sometime, while Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras had declared that the austerity packages should close today.

The package did not close after a couple of minutes ago, on Tuesday evening,  Antonis Samaras made follwoing declaration:

“We change the image of Greece. We negotiate very hard in order to take Greece out of the deadlock. My only criterion is Greece and its future. We need unification. Negotiations continue under tough circumstances.”

Greek media have been talking about a political solution as the only way to solve the crisis with the Troika. A political solution meaning that Antonis Samaras has to talk to his EU partners and convince them to exclude the Labour Rights issue from the package. Apparently the Troika demands an oxymoron called “Labour Reform” that will deprive employees and workers from salaries, compensations, and any labour right they acquired during the last century. 

*Escrow Account: an arrangement made under contractual provisions between transacting parties, whereby an independent trusted third party receives and disburses money and/or documents for the transacting parties, with the timing of such disbursement by the third party dependent on the fulfillment of contractually-agreed conditions by the transacting parties,