Greece: Public sector to restore collective bargaining

A bill going through the Greek legislature is intended to restore collective bargaining to the public sector.

The bill, which was undergoing public consultation until 24 March, not only provides for the restoration of collective bargaining (in Greek) but for collective employment agreements for public servants (in Greek) such as judicial officials, government, legal persons of public law (public entities) and local first and second grade authorities (local authorities such as municipalities and prefectures). Parliamentary employees are excluded, although the bill’s provisions can be extended to them by parliamentary regulation. For staff governed by public law, the provisions of Article 19 of Law 1876/1990 already apply.

The bill is the draft law on the Democratisation of public administration – Combating bureaucracy and e-government, restitution of injustices and other provisions and has been introduced by the Ministry of Administrative Reform.

Employment contracts, according to the draft law, will be negotiated by employees’ trade unions and by the government, jointly represented by the Minister of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction and the Minister of Finance, and will concern terms and conditions not only of pay (general contracts) but also of employment of staff (special contracts).

The negotiations will be conducted by the most representative second-level trade union organisation in the sector and, by the minister responsible, or their representative. Negotiations for the other legal persons governed by public law will be conducted, on behalf of the state, by their administrative bodies together with a ministerial representative.

Agreements can be concluded for at least one year, or indefinitely (any collective employment agreement applying for more than two years is considered to be indefinite) and must be ratified by law. Agreements will continue to apply, even after expiry, until a new agreement is concluded. If negotiations are unsuccessful, those involved can request the mediation of independent arbitration service OMED.

On April 24, following objections by the civil servants’ union ADEDY, the Ministry of Administrative Reform withdrew the provisions relating to the conversion of 40,000 indefinite contracts to permanent ones. Also withdrawn were some clauses on restoring collective bargaining in the public sector. The ministry committed itself to restoring both provisions in another bill, after some alterations.

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