PAME pickets Labor Ministry, troika meeting back on

A scheduled meeting between a team of inspectors from the country's creditors and Labor Minister Yiannis Droutsis was postponed by several hours on Tuesday after protesters formed a human chain and blocked the entrance to the ministry in downtown Athens.

Members of the Communist Party-backed PAME union picketed the entrance to the Labor Ministry, as representatives of the country's creditors are in Athens meeting with government officials to discuss the country's progress on a raft of cost-cutting reforms that will determine whether Greece receives the next tranche of bailout funding.

The team of inspectors from the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund -- known as the troika -- were to meet with Droutsis to discuss ways of lowering the cost of labor in order to boost competitiveness at 1 p.m..

Some 60 PAME unionists blocked the entrance to the ministry ahead of the troika inspectors' visit, forcing Droutsis to postpone the meeting until he could secure their safe passage. The meeting was rescheduled and began later in the afternoon, after the protest was disbanded.

In a statement, PAME said it «condemns the policies of the government, the European Union and the IMF, which aim at scrapping the National Collective Labor Agreement, the eight-hour work week... and dealing a new blow to social security, which will lead to retirement at 70."


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