The Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank is already pushing the uneasy coalition government led by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to make another $14.16 billion in cuts, and is insisting on even harsher measures for civil servants.
Unemployment has soared as the government finds ways to slash its budget deficit and get Greece back into the black, incomes have decreased as have salaries and pensions. The Troikas email called for changes in Greece’s labour regulations ahead of the next bailout payment. It proposed that employers should be able to fire employees more easily, that any noticed given to soon to fired workers be slashed from 4months to 2 and any compensation given to retirees be cut by 50% if they are already receiving a pension and any workers laid off also have their compensation cut by 50%.
In terms of worker flexibility, the troika called for looser regulations governing working hours, so that employees might work for six days a week, with a minimum rest between shifts of only 11 hours. They also proposed to lift restrictions on switching workers between morning and evening shifts.
The Troika wants greater flexibility in work hours, although Greeks already are near the top in Europe, and wants to let private companies set work rules for hiring and firing and other conditions, according to their needs.
Following the Troika’s orders, the Labour Ministry is expected to put forth measures aimed at the most vulnerable sectors in Greece, including:
• A six-day work week with changes in shift times
• Reducing notice before firing a worker from as much as six months and reducing their severance, and pensions
• Cutting by 50 percent certain severance packages by giving employers the right to reduce their time in service and warning period
• To change working hours and make them longer
• Restrictions on overtime and furloughs
The leaked email is sure to heighten the tension between the government and the ever increasingly militant labour unions who have already warned that their members will take to the streets in protest at any more austerity measures.
Greece is currently in the midst of a five-year long recession that has seen nearly two million people lose their jobs, 68,000 businesses close and the economy shrink by 7% every year. There is very little evidence to suggest that the Troikas austerity plans are working as Greece continues to suffer.
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