As part of the run up to the 14 November ETUC Day of Action against austerity, for jobs and growth, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has written formally to the Greek Prime Minister – at the request of Greek trade unions – expressing ‘anger and dismay about … measures which will hit harder the weakest and will deteriorate further the dramatic social and economic situation in Greece.’
Mr Antonis Samaras
Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic
19 Irodou Attikou St.
Dear Prime Minister
Austerity in Greece
Our sister organisations, the GSEE and ADEDY, have informed us of the structural labour market measures imposed by the Troika that were passed by the Greek parliament on 7 November 2012. On behalf of the TUC, I would like to express anger and dismay about the contents of these measures, which will hit harder the weakest and will deteriorate further the dramatic social and economic situation in Greece.
The measures dictated by the Troika concentrate on new cuts in wages and pensions. They disregard and destroy the value of collective bargaining: indeed, the minimum wage will no longer be subject to negotiations but set by law and frozen at below subsistence levels together with long-service ‘maturity’ allowances. Working time and leave regulation will be imposed without any form of negotiations. The single remaining benefit attached to minimum wage, the 10% family allowance, will be removed and will further impoverish workers, pensioners and their families. The new system precludes the extension of the protective framework of collective agreements to all workers and forbids any other allowance.
Such measures gravely affect not only Greece and its citizens but the whole of the European working population. Indeed such drastic cuts in wages and pensions, such flexibilisation of working time and working conditions, and such disregard of the value of collective bargaining create a negative downwards competition for all workers in Europe.
The TUC strongly deplores and opposes these measures which flagrantly contradict key principles of the European Treaties (namely the horizontal social clause, upwards convergence of living and working standards, strict respect for national systems of industrial relations, etc).
The TUC recalls that Greece has already been scrutinised by the Council of Europe and has been found to have violated the 1961 Social Charter by a series of legislation enacted at the express demand of the Troika.
The TUC expresses its solidarity with Greek workers and with the Greek population undergoing the most unfair and counter-productive measures, imposed from the outside, and contravening the European Treaties.
We ask the Government of Greece to refrain from adopting the revised budget on 11 November as it will inflict further damage on already impoverished Greek workers and their families.