GSEE rejects IMF wage cut proposal

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In June 1999, the Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) expressed its total opposition to proposals from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reduce the wages of new entrants to the labour market and to cut labour costs.

On 24 June 1999, a team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited the Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE), in the framework of the contacts IMF has been making with various bodies before drawing up its annual report on trends in the Greek economy. At the meeting, GSEE explained its positions and expressed criticisms of IMF positions, laying emphasis on the questions of development, employment, incomes and social security.

GSEE released a statement on 30 June regarding wage levels, the main point of disagreement between GSEE and IMF representatives. In it, the GSEE stressed the opposition of the trade union movement in Greece to the IMF proposals to reduce the entry wage for first-time job seekers to a level below that set out in collective agreements, and to limit pay increases in order to reduce labour costs, and stated that in no event will these proposals be acceptable. In GSEE's view, both government and IMF representatives must be aware that the stabilisation of the Greek economy has been based on pay reductions, and that labour costs are still the lowest in the European Union (with the exception of Portugal). Therefore, counter to the IMF proposals, GSEE maintains that there should be pay increases to protect the purchasing power of workers' incomes.

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