Collective agreement signed for banking sector 1997/8

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A new collective agreement, signed in May 1997, improves financial and social conditions for bank employees in Greece

On 13 May 1997, following two weeks' negotiations, a collective agreement was signed for the banking sector. The agreement, which runs from 1 January 1997 until 31 December 1998 and covers 70% of the sector, was signed by the Greek Federation of Bank Employee Unions (OTOE) and the Greek Bankers' Association.

OTOE, which is one of the most dynamic and innovative sectoral trade unions in Greece, considers the results of the negotiations as "satisfactory under the present difficult economic condition", mainly because it introduces a new pay scale for the lowest-paid employees, providing them with higher increases.

According to the data from OTOE, the new agreement lays down a pay increase of 12% payable in two instalments (7.5% from 1 January 1997 and 4.5% from 1 July 1998). The increase relates to basic pay and the agreement, which has been welcomed by all employees, introduces a new pay scale covering all staff (from young entrants to managers). Other key points of the deal include:

  • the total duration of maternity leave is extended by two more weeks for those employees who obtained the right to it after 1 January 1997;
  • substantial increases in special non-pay benefits (such as the provision of day nurseries, children's camps and so on). Housing loans are reduced by 1% in 1997 and a further 1% in 1998 to a total maximum of GRD 18 million per employee, plus GRD 3 million extra for each child.
  • of great significance is article 15, which concerns equal opportunities for women and men. Amongst other provisions it gives employees the right - for the first time in Greece - to take action about psychological harm caused by sexual discrimination at work; and
  • the agreement covers a variety of other issues including training and education, reduction of working time, equal opportunities and special provisions for union representatives.

The president of OTOE believes that the agreement "opens new dimensions for employees in banking both at the financial and institutional level", because it:

  • protects and improves the income of all employees with increases above inflation;
  • sets out a new approach to the introduction of a new pay scale; and
  • improves social conditions in the sector.
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