Worker Rights Endangered in Greece

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has condemned the attacks on worker rights in the current demands being made of the Greek government by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The international trade union movement has urged all parties to engage instead in a genuine dialogue that could build a consensus-based economic recovery in Greece.

The IMF and the European Union are pressuring, among other conditions, for deregulation of worker rights in the private sector, enhanced wage flexibility including reductions in the minimum wage, legislative changes to facilitate employment reductions, and other forms of interference in freely determined collective bargaining processes.

“This is totally unacceptable for the ITUC,” stated ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. “Legitimate social dialogue and internationally recognized worker rights have been cast aside. Far from achieving a jobs recovery, this is going to condemn Greece to years more austerity accompanied by a rise in unemployment, informality, and insecurity in the workplace.”

In a letter sent to the IMF, the International Labor Organization, and the Greek authorities, the ITUC is asking the organizations involved and the government to cease attempting to impose the current reforms and to seek instead a productive dialogue based upon a pro-growth strategy to build a consensus-based recovery in Greece.

“The international institutions and the Greek government are destroying social dialogue, collective agreements and job and income security,” added Burrow. “They are destroying the base of democracy. The ITUC stands with workers in Greece and everywhere where worker rights are under attack.”