Unions, employers reject wage cuts

In a joint letter addressed to the Greek government and the European Union on Friday, worker and employer representatives said they rejected cuts to the minimum wage and to the salaries of private sector workers paid in 14 installments over the year to coincide with big holidays. Representatives from the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), the Confederation of Greek Small Businesses and Traders (GSEVEE)and the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) said they had reached an agreement in part on labor reforms demanded by Greece's creditors -- the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, collectively known as the troika -- to bring down the cost of labor and boost competitiveness. They said that they agree not to further reduce workers' salaries, but are still discussing imposing a freeze on wages and maturities over the next three years and other ways of bringing the wage bill down, such as reducing social security contributions. Greece has to come up with a way to reduce its wage costs, among other measures, if it is to receive a new bailout loan worth €130 billion ($170 billion).

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