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Greece

Background information on industrial relations in Greece

  • 17 Dec 2009
    Greece: INE/GSEE presents economic and employment outlook for 2009

    In September 2009, the Institute of Labour of the Greek General Confederation of Labour published its annual report on the Greek economy and employment. The report examines key developments in the economy, including industrial relations, social policy and employment. The 2009 report reveals increases in indirect taxes, average real wages, working hours and unemployment. Moreover, more women than men are unemployed or work part time.

  • 22 Sep 2009
    Representativeness of the European social partner organisations: Steel industry – Greece

    The aim of this representativeness study is to identify the respective national and supranational actors (i.e. trade unions and employer organisations) in the field of industrial relations in the steel industry in Greece. In order to determine their relative importance in the sector’s industrial relations, this study will, in particular, focus on their representational quality as well as on their role in collective bargaining.

  • 18 Sep 2009
    Greece – Greening the European economy: responses and initiatives by Member States and social partners

    In the case of Greece, the issue of green economy and employment has only recently begun to seriously concern the government, politicians and social partners. Whereas the initiatives taken are neither subsumed under a broader discussion on tackling the impacts of the financial crisis on economic growth and the labour market, nor discussed in the context of social dialogue or a wider public debate, an effort is made on evaluating potential perspectives and analyzing the different parameters of the matter, rather than on drafting specific political plans on the implementation of a green agenda.

  • 15 Sep 2009
    Greece: Flexicurity and industrial relations

    The participation of the social partners in the creation and implementation of public policies falling within the concept of flexicurity is very limited, with the exception of certain current interventions in the field of lifelong learning. Regarded as equally inadequate is the progress of individual or even more of joint relevant actions by the social partners for the promotion of flexicurity. Apart from the indubitable fact that objectively the relevant discussion in Greece is lagging significantly behind other countries, there are at present very few prospects for the development of a relevant social dialogue on efforts to arrive at joint decisions and policies.

  • 01 Sep 2009
    Greece: General strike highlights deteriorating economic situation

    A new general strike was held by the top trade unions affiliated to the Greek General Confederation of Labour and the Confederation of Public Servants in early April 2009. The trade unions condemned the restrictive fiscal policy of the Greek government, which has caused the economy to go into recession. They contend that it is the workers who are bearing the main burden of the economic crisis as a result of such policy.

  • 31 Aug 2009
    Greece: Social partners respond to effects of recession

    The global economic crisis has affected the Greek economy, resulting in increased unemployment rates. According to estimates by international and domestic organisations, unemployment will reach double-digit figures in Greece in 2009. The likely negative social effects of increased unemployment in conjunction with the slowdown in the economy’s growth rate have led to efforts by both the government and the social partners to mitigate the effects of the crisis.

  • 31 Aug 2009
    Greece: Mixed reaction to reorganisation of Labour Inspectorate

    The Greek government decided to reorganise the Labour Inspectorate having passed the relevant law in May 2009. The main goal of this intervention is to improve the services of the inspectorate by creating new regional departments and strengthening its workforce. The Economic and Social Council of Greece welcomes the new arrangements aiming to fill existing gaps in services but highlights that they will not be sufficient to improve the inspectorate’s overall operation.

  • 12 Aug 2009
    Greece: More workers occupying premises as form of protest

    During the period from December 2008 to February 2009, a special form of social reaction emerged in Greece. More specifically, the practice of occupying premises and facilities by employees and groups of employees or private sector trade unions came to the forefront concerning industrial relations in the cleaning sector. The protests were sparked by a vicious attack on a contract cleaner, and highlight breaches of labour law and poor working conditions.

  • 30 Jul 2009
    Representativeness of the European social partner organisations: Tanning and leather sector – Greece

    The aim of this representativeness study is to identify the respective national and supranational actors (i.e. trade unions and employer organisations) in the field of industrial relations in the tanning and leather sector in Greece. In order to determine their relative importance in the sector’s industrial relations, this study will, in particular, focus on their representational quality as well as on their role in collective bargaining.

  • 28 Jul 2009
    Greece: Social partner proposals to combat economic crisis

    The consequences of the financial crisis are now affecting the real economy in Greece, with the unemployment rate in December 2008 increasing to 8.9% from 7.8% in November. Meanwhile, economic forecasts for 2009 envisage a considerable slowdown or even stagnation in the national economy. Therefore, the social partners have submitted their own proposals to the government to tackle the crisis. The proposals include short-term and long-term policy measures.

  • 13 Jul 2009
    Greece: Alumil reduces working time under pretext of economic crisis

    In March 2009, the aluminium extrusion group Alumil implemented a reduction of working hours for its entire personnel by 1.5 hours a day and to a corresponding reduction of their salaries by 20%. According to the company, this flexibilisation measure is a result of the ongoing economic crisis affecting the international economy and was necessary in order to secure jobs.

  • 13 Jul 2009
    Greece: Government announces employment protection measures

    With the unemployment rate in Greece rising to over 9% during the first quarter of 2009, up from 7.2% in 2008, and based on estimates anticipating a further increase in 2009, the government has announced measures to protect employment. The funds for the programme, which has a two-year time horizon, amount to €3.2 billion and derive from both national and European Union resources. However, opposition parties and trade unions have criticised the measures.

  • 06 Jul 2009
    Greece: Multinational companies and collective bargaining

    MNCs are introducing innovative practices, but they do not include them in the framework of typical enterprise-level collective labour agreements. Such practices are mainly introduced unilaterally following guidelines in this regard from the state where their headquarters are located. There is no enterprise-level union in most MNCs. By and large, MNCs are not interested in playing a key part in collective bargaining on the sector level. Collective bargaining on the sector level is carried out mainly with employer organisations, where there is a preponderance of small and medium-sized employers.

  • 06 Jul 2009
    Greece: Ministry of Finance freezes public sector wages

    The need to reduce the public deficit has forced the Greek Ministry of Finance to decide not to increase the basic salaries of civil servants and public sector pensioners, but to provide aid in the form of an allowance and only to specific categories. Thus, this allowance will not be paid to all civil servants and pensioners. The government decision was made public in mid March 2009 and was strongly opposed by public sector trade unions, which went on a general strike on 2 April.

  • 29 Jun 2009
    Greece: Impact of mergers and acquisitions on employment and labour relations

    The Labour Institute of the Greek General Confederation of Labour has examined the impact of company mergers and acquisitions in the field of employment and labour relations. A significant surge in such activity occurred between 1998 and 2005. In general, both redundancies and recruitment feature in connection with restructuring of this type. Overall, it tends to lead to more flexible employment contracts and to an individualisation of labour relations.

  • 29 Jun 2009
    Greece: Attack on union activist draws attention to working conditions in cleaning companies

    A vicious attack on a migrant worker in a subcontracting cleaning company, who is also a trade union activist, brought the working conditions of people in precarious employment – especially women and migrants – into the public eye and led to a series of protests and campaigns. A study by the Labour Institute of the Greek General Confederation of Labour highlights the inadequacy of the statutory framework, as well as numerous legal violations in the cleaning industry.

  • 28 Apr 2009
    Greece: Wage flexibility and collective bargaining

    Wage flexibility is a secondary expression of employment flexibility and refers to the ability to set wages in different frameworks than the existing ones, as determined by the system of collective bargaining and labour agreements. The main argument for wage flexibility, which is the principal expression of reduction of labour costs, is that the traditional manner of setting wages through the collective bargaining system is seen as inflexible. In recent times a greater potential for wage flexibility has been noted in Greece, via stronger systems that link pay with companies’ performance and financial results, and changes in the manner in which wages are set, with performance- and productivity-based pay representing an ever greater share of total pay. The banking sector has played a leading role in these changes.

  • 28 Apr 2009
    Representativeness of the European social partner organisations: Hospitals – Greece

    The aim of this representativeness study is to identify the respective national and supranational actors (i.e. trade unions and employer organisations) in the field of industrial relations in the hospital sector in Greece. In order to determine their relative importance in the sector’s industrial relations, this study will, in particular, focus on their representational quality as well as on their role in collective bargaining.

  • 14 Apr 2009
    Greece: First sectoral agreement signed for hospital doctors

    After lengthy negotiations, the Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity and the Federation of Unions of Hospital Doctors in Greece have concluded the first industry-wide collective agreement covering about 16,000 doctors in the country’s public hospitals. The agreement regulates elements of working hours, pay and the hiring of medical personnel in public hospitals. In line with labour law, the agreement covers all hospital doctors, not only those who are members of trade unions.

  • 31 Mar 2009
    Greece: Wage formation

    Convergence of workers’ incomes with incomes in the developed countries of the EU, protection of social cohesion and reduction of inequalities, boosting competitiveness, having the advantage of low labour costs, and the need to reduce inflation are the factors, often contradictory, that create the framework for wage formation in Greece. As the new National General Collective Labour Agreement (EGSSE) signed in March this year showed, the function of minimum wages, at least in protecting incomes from increased inflation, constitutes a minimum safety net for an increasing part of the population, for whom more and more characteristics of new poverty are being created.

  • 24 Mar 2009
    Greece: Eurobank advocates curbing income growth to boost competitiveness

    Holding income growth rates down to a figure lower than the sum of inflation and productivity growth to boost the competitiveness of the Greek economy is the proposal put forward in a report by the Department of Economic Research and Forecasting of Greece’s private bank, Eurobank. However, the trade unions disagree, believing that current policies fail to do enough to help the most vulnerable groups in society.

  • 24 Mar 2009
    Greece: Employees oppose privatisation plan for Olympic Airways

    In November 2008, the Greek parliament approved a government plan to privatise Olympic Airways. The plan stipulates that Olympic Airways will be split into three separate companies and sold to private buyers, with a smaller successor airline likely to emerge. The employees will be offered voluntary departure with financial benefits and transfers to other parts of the public sector. Employees and unions at Olympic Airways strongly oppose the privatisation plan.

  • 09 Mar 2009
    The impact of the information and consultation directive on industrial relations — Greece.

    Experience shows that the statutory framework governing information and consultation in Greece must be strengthened to be more effective. The social partners should also adopt a more cooperative mentality and culture.

  • 02 Mar 2009
    Greece: Workers strike against economic policy and state violence

    In December 2008, public and private sector trade unions called one of the biggest strikes in Greece in recent years. Initially, the strike sought to target the government’s economic policy, which affects the purchasing power of workers and heightens their insecurity for the future. However, following a tragic incident leading to the death of a schoolboy at the hands of a police officer, the strike action also focused on the protection of civil rights against violence.

  • 06 Feb 2009
    Greece: Collective bargaining and continuous vocational training in Europe

  • 13 Jan 2009
    Greece: New law on legality of strikes

    Earlier this summer, the Greek parliament passed an amendment to existing legislation governing strike action, aimed at accelerating appeals hearings on whether or not strikes are illegal.The new law also changes the rules governing the designation of the appeals court's panel in cases of deliberation upon the legality of a strike. However, these amendments have been criticised on the grounds that they curtail trade union autonomy.

  • 13 Jan 2009
    Greece: Public and private sector strikes against economic policy

    The two main trade union federations in Greece, the Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) and the Supreme Administration of Greek Civil Servants’ Trade Unions (ADEDY), which represent workers employed in the private and public sectors respectively, took strike action in late October 2008 to protest against the government’s economic policy. On 21 October, a general strike took place, accompanied by a march to the Parliament. According to the organisers, the strike was successful. The government, citing the worldwide economic crisis, is planning measures to assist the weaker groups of the population, which, however, will not bring about a dramatic change in economic policy aimed at improving financial indicators.

  • 07 Jan 2009
    Greece: Report highlights economic slowdown and employment problems

    The Greek economy is suffering the effects of the global economic crisis, according to a June 2008 report from the employer-linked Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), and growth is slowing. So far, employment and unemployment rates, which have improved in recent years, have been little affected by the slowdown. However, the report highlights a number of structural problems in the labour market.

  • 07 Jan 2009
    Greece: Unions oppose government plan to restructure railways

    In August 2008, the Greek government announced a restructuring plan for the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE), aimed at ensuring its financial viability, promoting growth and improving transparency and safety. The plan includes a major reduction in the workforce, to be achieved mainly through a voluntary exit programme, in order to cut costs. Trade unions at OSE are strongly opposed to the plan and called strike action in protest.

Page last updated: 21 August, 2014