GSEE meets employers' organisations to discuss government employment proposals
In July 2000, following the announcement by the Greek government of new measures on employment and unemployment, the GSEE trade union confederation held a series of meetings with employers' organisations to discuss their positions on the proposals.
In July 2000, the Greek government announced a set of proposals aimed at increasing employment and reducing unemployment, involving a number of changes in the industrial relations area (GR0007178F). The Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) subsequently held meetings with employers' organisations in order to brief them on the positions and proposals of the trade union movement regarding the government announcement. Meetings were held with the presiding boards of the National Confederation of Greek Traders (ESEE) and the General Confederation of Greek Small Businesses and Trades (GSEVEE) on 24 and 25 July 2000 respectively.
During the meeting of the GSEE and ESEE presiding boards, GSEE briefed the ESEE representatives in detail on its positions with regard to the government measures on industrial relations, and on the decisions of the GSEE's governing bodies to take industrial action in the event that the measures on which GSEE has expressed its opposition are implemented. The ESEE representatives reportedly agreed with GSEE' s view that the five key points of the government measures - relating to working time flexibility, restricting overtime, cutting employers' social security contributions, amending redundancies legislation and examining part-time work - cannot provide direct, decisive solutions to the problems of unemployment and employment, and that they do not constitute priorities in the policies that need to be conducted in this direction. The ESEE representatives believe that there is a need to support entrepreneurial activity, through which new jobs may be created. In the discussion between the two organisations, ESEE expressed the view that the various individual approaches to these questions should not disturb the positive climate which has been created in industrial relations in recent months.
During the meeting between GSEE and GSEVEE, the two delegations arrived at the following common positions on labour issues:
- creating a friendly environment for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME s);
- ensuring substantive free collective bargaining;
- gradually reducing working time, aiming at 35 hours a week (offset by tax breaks and financing for SMEs);
- reducing "red tape" for SMEs;
- reducing non-wage labour costs while maintaining social security income;
- providing SMEs with incentives for growth;
- providing incentives (subsidies) for new job creation;
- utilising the reserves of the Account for Employment and Vocational Training (LAEK) to promote employment and benefit SMEs;
- amending Presidential Decree 84/84 so as to encourage investments and business activity in the Attica basin;
- utilising the third EU Community Support Framework to increase employment and develop SMEs; and
- in particular, agreeing that the five key measures that the government has proposed fail to resolve the problems of unemployed people and SMEs. Instead they create new problems which could exert a negative influence on the investment climate by causing undue tensions.
On 27 July 2000 a meeting was held between GSEE and the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV), the content of which has not been made known.