Government issues invitation to begin social dialogue
In late July 2000, shortly after announcing proposals regarding new policies on employment and unemployment, the Greek government issued an invitation to the social partners to begin bilateral talks on nine issues in this area. The GSEE trade union confederation accepted the invitation.
On 25 July 2000, a few days after the government announced a set of proposals regarding new policies on increasing employment and reducing unemployment (GR0007178F), the Minister of Labour and Social Security addressed to the Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) an invitation to begin bilateral talks on nine related policy areas, which should occur alongside talks with employers' organisations. This "substantive, open dialogue" will cover:
- the resources of the third EU Community Support Framework and the objective of employment and investment in human resources;
- qualitative improvement of support mechanisms for employment policies;
- fiscal, incomes and anti-inflationary policy, in connection with the position of workers and social integration;
- structural policies and competitiveness;
- policies for the development of entrepreneurship, with particular reference to small and medium-sized enterprises;
- the institutional framework for human resources policies;
- special initiatives for high-unemployment areas and target groups;
- active employment policies, the fight against unemployment, and alternative solutions; and
- the safety net against exclusion, inequality and poverty.
The social partners agree that the social dialogue on employment and unemployment issues will be conducted with each organisation separately, although there may also be multilateral meetings whenever both sides feel this will be useful. In the event that a topic requires more time, the team considering it will continue its work, even though the next round of talks may have begun. It should be noted that the government takes an especially positive view of prior agreements between the social partners that may prepare the way for constructive solutions. The government proposes that the individual bilateral meetings should begin on 24 August 2000.
On 27 July 2000, in a letter to the Minister of Labour and Social Security which was also communicated to the employers' organisations, the president of GSEE accepted on behalf of workers the government's invitation to engage in dialogue. However, he stated that, in view of the timetable for the meetings, they are likely to be inconclusive and theoretical in nature, given that the social partners are called on to deal exhaustively with major social and economic questions in a "stiflingly short time". GSEE believes it necessary to make available within a reasonable time period a working text containing an analysis of the government proposals on all the individual issues included in the nine policy areas on promoting employment and reducing unemployment. It is also important that the government proposals be documented with economic data and indicators, where this is felt to be necessary. Also required will be an evaluation of all policies implemented to date, along with scientific measurements of the actions taken so far.