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Hoteliers on Crete threaten staff with €5,000 penalty if they quit job

Hoteliers on the island of Crete threaten employees with an penalty clause of 5,000 euros should they quit job during the tourism season. Note that such a “clause” is illegal, as the Labor Center states.

Representatives of the Labor Center of Heraklion have made serious complaints about the “delinquent and irregular” behavior of the hoteliers, local media reported on Thursday.

And the threat with a 5,000-euro penalty is not the only irregularity: While employees work in Greece they are been registered by the employers in countries abroad, to escape social security contributions.

These complaints are under the “microscope” of the Labor Inspectorate, which is expected to take action in the coming days.

Representatives of the Heraklion Labor Center argued that no employee should feel fear or worry, but should make complaints through of the unions they belongs to.

According to reports, lack of working staff is great in the hotel units, with the data showing a 30% more shortage in the hotels of Crete compared to last year.

It should be noted that the local collective labor agreement was signed, which was declared as generally mandatory a few weeks ago, in order to offer attractive incentives to the employees. However, it seems that the behavior of hoteliers and supervisors continues and is a permanent problem.

General secretary of the Labor Center of Heraklion and president of the Association of Cooks and Confectioners of Heraklion Prefecture Nektarios Moussakis spoke also of a wide spread bulling phenomenon towards employees in the sector.

“Employees become victims of verbal and anti-colleague behavior. The problem of workplace intimidation is quite big in Heraklion and in Crete in general,” he said.

Speaking to the local media, Moussakis stressed that these two problems did not exist in the previous years.

“Hotel units declare that their employees work abroad, but in reality they work in Greece. This, as the representative of the Labor Center states, is carried out in the context of an attempt to reduce the amount of insurance contributions that the employer is obliged to deposit,” he explained.

This is the practice by “3-4 hotel groups, whose business activities are abroad. In other words, Greek citizens who work in the hotels of Heraklion are declared to work in foreign countries.

He added that the Labor Center of Heraklio will file lawsuits.

Speakign about the “penalty clause,” Moussakis said that “some hotels display false documents and papers, which impose “penal clauses”, as a tool so that the employee does not leave in the middle of the tourist season.”

Such documents are not legal he said hinting to 6-7 hotels in the Heraklion area.”

The “penalty clause” does not exist in the hotel sector, but only in public projects, where contractors are obliged to carry out a project within a specific time frame. This is the penalty clause. In hotels it does not exist and, unfortunately, many hoteliers have instrumentalized it, in order to avoid further and possible reduction of the working staff. To make the problem more understandable, there are hoteliers who ask their employees 5,000 euros in case they leave before the end of the tourist season,” Moussakis stressed.

President of the Hotel Employees’ Association of Heraklion, Nikos Kokolakis, underlined to that “complaints about employers’ misconduct are numerous. There are several malpractices on the part of employers. Bad behavior, non-compliance with the local collective bargaining agreement have created a corrosive climate. We will carry out continuous interventions, in order to address these problems and raise awareness among the employees.”

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