New agreement for employees in wholesale and retail trade
A new two-year sectoral collective agreement covering employees in wholesale and retail trade throughout the country has been signed. The new agreement introduces increases in minimum wages and also addresses non-pay issues. Unlike previous agreements, it regulates telework, support for the family and female employment, as well as vocational education and training for employees.
On 7 September 2006, a new sectoral collective agreement was signed, covering employees in the wholesale and retail trade sector throughout the country. Signatories from the employers’ side included the authorised representatives of the National Confederation of Greek Traders (Εθνική Συνομοσπονδία Ελληνικού Εμπορίου, ESEE), the General Confederation of Greek Small Businesses and Trades (Γενική Συνομοσπονδία Επαγγελματιών Βιοτεχνών Εμπόρων Ελλάδας, GSEVEE), the Hellenic Association of Supermarket Enterprises (Συνδέσμου Επιχειρήσεων Σούπερ Μάρκετ Ελλάδος, SESME) and the Hellenic Retail Business Association (SELPE), while the Federation of Greek Private Employees (Ομοσπονδία Ιδιωτικών Υπαλλήλων Ελλάδος, OIYE) represented the employee side. The new agreement came retroactively into effect from 1 January 2006 and will cover a two-year period.
On 1 January 2006, basic wages and salaries for employees covered by this agreement increased by 3% in relation to their levels on 18 April 2005. Moreover, a further 3% increase was expected to take effect on 1 September 2006, followed by a 2.7% rise on 1 January 2007. Furthermore, wages and salaries are expected to increase again by 3% on 1 September 2007.
In addition, this agreement provides for an increase of severance pay by five days’ wages for blue-collar workers who have completed over 25 years of service. Severance pay thus corresponds to 145 days’ wages for blue-collar workers who have completed 25–30 years of service, and to 165 days’ wages for blue-collar workers with 30 or more years of service.
The parties to the agreement also agreed to jointly take the necessary actions to ensure that the compensation paid due to the termination of an employment contract is exempt from all taxes.
This new agreement for employees in wholesale and retail trade also regulates issues relating to telework, support for families and female employment, and vocational education and training.
The signatory parties decided to implement the 2002 EU framework agreement on telework concluded by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the Union of Industrial and Employers’ Confederations of Europe (UNICE), the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (UEAPME) and the European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest (CEEP). The provisions of the EU framework agreement will be transposed, with immediate effect, into the National General Collective Agreement (EGSSE) for 2006–2007 (GR0605019I).
The agreement also focused on providing family benefits for employees and boosting female employment. The signatory parties agreed to promote legislation that will provide for the payment of the equivalent of an unskilled worker’s daily wage to employees on parental leave, along with the payment of their insurance contributions to the competent insurance organisations. These payments will be covered by the Distributive Fund for Employee Family Allowances (DLOEM). In addition, the signatory parties want to encourage the recruitment of unemployed people to cover for female employees while they are absent from work on maternity leave.
Finally, the parties committed themselves to designing and supporting joint actions aimed at improving lifelong vocational education and training for employees.
Elena Rapti, Labour Institute of Greek General Confederation of Labour (INE-GSEE)