GSEE appeals to ILO on labour relations in public corporations

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In February 1998, the Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) appealed to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other international organisations and national bodies, with a view to repealing a new law which provides for labour relations in some public corporations to be governed by law rather than collective bargaining.

On 3 February 1998, a legislative amendment on the regulation of labour relations in public enterprises in financial difficulties was passed in the Greek Parliament. Under the new provisions, labour relations in "lame duck" public utilities and services will in future be regulated by law and not by agreement between management and employees (GR9802155F). On the same day, prompted by the legislative intervention, the GSEE appealed to the International Labour Organisation (ILO)

The GSEE claims that the Government has violated ILO Convention No. 98 on the right to organise and collective bargaining, which Greece ratified in Article 4 of Legislative Decree 4205/1961. GSEE will also set up a committee of constitutionalists and labour law experts to draw up an appeal to the Greek courts for repeal of the new law. GSEE has requested action by the Economic and Social Committee (OKE), which denounced the Government's action on 2 February. GSEE's call for OKE to issue an appeal to the Government to withdraw the controversial amendment was not accepted, as this was considered to lie outside the Committee's competencies. In OKE's February meeting, however, the representatives of all the private sector employers' organisations, while not questioning the need for modernisation of public corporations, expressed their dissatisfaction over the Government's handling of the matter. For the employers, this has damaged the industrial relations climate and jeopardised labour peace and the negotiations over a new National General Collective Agreement. Government policy was also denounced in a message of solidarity with the GSEE from the European Trade Union Confederation and the International Transport Workers' Federation.

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