first_imgOne of the most contentious pieces of legislation that the government will have to pass as part of the package of structural reforms ordered by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund was tabled in Parliament on Thursday night.Greek Lbour Minister Loula Katseli tabled the labour reform legislation in the Greek parliament.Under the legislation, businesses would be allowed to set aside the collective contracts that exist in a variety of sectors if they run into financial problems and offer their employees in-house deals instead.Employers would be allowed to pay lower rates than those stipulated in the collective labor deals, although monthly salaries could not dip below the national minimum wage of 740 euros.The draft law also makes it easier and cheaper to fire employees as collective contracts contain strict clauses on how many workers employers can sack and what compensation they must pay them.It also foresees freezing the gross monthly salaries at government corporations will be capped at 4,000 euros, while monthly salaries over 1,800 euros will be slashed by 10 percent.It also provides for wages in the private sector to be lowered below the levels set in their private sector collective agreements.The government argues the measures are intended to curb common abuses in the public sector, with questionable bonuses frequently added to workers’ monthly pay.Prime Minister George Papandreou said the measures could slow job losses through the recession, predicted to continue in 2011.“We either save jobs, or businesses will close and more people will be out of work,” he told parliament.“We will get through the tunnel with the fewest losses possible, so that we can return to growth as easy as as can.”But opposition parties strongly denounced the labour amrket reforms.Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras said, that the government is changing with the living standards of Greek citizens’ ‘without dialogue, without consent, without serious thinking and with increasing internal frictions”.Samaras added that “ND is in favour of reforms, but not makeshift reforms”. He called for “structural changes that will bring competitiveness, recovery and hope”.Communist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga called for the political system to be toppled saying that “at this point there is a necessity for a specific opposition strategy that leads the people to challenge and topple the system and not to quack remedies that recycle and intensify the problems”.“We are dealing with a dangerous govenrment to which the lot was cast of taking brutal measures and ignoring the people,” Papariga added.Alexis Tsipras of Left coalition Syriza, has accused the government of legitimising the most barbarian policy in Greece, adding that Mr Papandreou should step down as quickly as possible.Other political leaders also expressed their opposition to the latest government decisions.Prime Minister George Papandreou has called for meetings with the political leaders early next week in the run up to the crucial European Summit on December 16-17 in Brussels.Source: Kathimerini, Associated Press, Athens News Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img