Labor cost has dropped 14 pct

Total labor costs across the country posted a 14.3 percent drop in the period from the first quarter of 2010 to the third quarter of 2011, according to a study by the National Institute of Labor (EIE).

The survey concluded that the biggest salary cut was in the hotel and restaurant sector from the period before Greece received the first bailout package until last fall, amounting to 30.4 percent. The smallest cut was in civil administration, defense and social security (5.6 percent).

Non-salary labor costs have declined at a faster rate than salary costs: The former shrank within 18 months by 19.3 percent, while the latter contracted by 12.1 percent.

The study has been used by the Labor Ministry in the tough negotiations it has been conducting with representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund -- also known as the troika -- on the thorny issue of cuts to salaries. The negotiations between Labor Minister Giorgos Koutroumanis and the troika are resuming on Tuesday.

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