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Austerity hits Greek private sector

01-05-2012 08:18 BJT

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Strikes and protests became recurring events in Greece in the past year, following a string of austerity measures hitting the public sector. Now it seems the government is eyeing the private sector... already suffering from an ailing economy. We take a look at how trade unions are responding.

Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos hosts a meeting at his office with business federations and unions.

Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is shown during a New Year's meal for the homeless.
He said Wednesday the country faced "uncontrolled default" in March unless unions and
employers can quickly agree on labour cost cuts to boost competitiveness.

He’s considering changing workers’ contracts, reducing the minimum wage and cutting bonuses to make the country more competitive and boost its ailing economy.

But afterwards, the President of the General Confederation of Greek workers said he wasn’t in favor of the changes.

GSEE president Yannis Panagogoulos said: "Regarding the national collective labor contract and the minimum wage of the poor worker, we say we are not willing to take a single step back."

The Greek private sector hasn’t been touched so far by the government’s austerity measures.

But workers have lost their jobs and businesses have closed down as the recession has caused Greek consumers to tighten their belts.

Industrial action has become part of daily life - these steel workers have been on strike for more than two months.

Greece’s international lenders, Europe, the IMF and the ECB, have told Greece to become more competitive by making wages more flexible.

The troika will be reviewing Greece’s economic progress in Athens in mid-January.

The Greek government has said the next three months are crucial - and has warned Greece risks leaving the euro if it fails to secure a deal on its second bailout with its lenders.

Protesters from communist-affiliated trade union PAME and Hellenic Steel workers shout
slogans during a rally in Athens January 3, 2012.

Protesters from communist-affiliated trade union PAME and workers from Hellenic Steel
shout slogans during a rally in Athens January 3, 2012.

 

Editor:Zhang Rui |Source: CNTV.CN

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