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Emergency cost-cutting, tax bill tabled in Parliament

Δημοσίευση 10 Δεκεμβρίου 2010, 08:41 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
Emergency cost-cutting, tax bill tabled  in Parliament
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A draft bill citing "urgent measures for the implementation of the support programme" was tabled in Parliament on Thursday evening, foreseeing changes to collective labour agreements, deep reforms in the labour market and wide-ranging wage cuts in loss-making state utilities and enterprises. The bill was discussed during a meeting of the cabinet earlier in the day.

A draft bill citing "urgent measures for the implementation of the support programme" was tabled in Parliament on Thursday evening, foreseeing changes to collective labour agreements, deep reforms in the labour market and wide-ranging wage cuts in loss-making state utilities and enterprises. The bill was discussed during a meeting of the cabinet earlier in the day.

The bill will be debated via an urgent process at the economic affairs committee on Monday, in one session, and will be unveiled for a plenum vote on Tuesday.

Measures are linked directly to the achievement of the targets and the smooth implementation of the country's Economic Policy Programme and must be in force as of Jan. 1, 2011.

Amongst others, the draft law foresees the following measures:

-An increase in the reduced VAT rate from 11 percent to 13 percent and in the lowest reduced rate from 5.5 percent to 6.5 percent.

-A decrease in the VAT rate for pharmaceuticals and stays at hotels and accommodation from the currently applied 11 percent to the new 6.5 percent rate.

As regards policy and limits for hirings in the public sector "overall implementation of the rule of 1 hiring for every 5 withdrawals from the public sector."

On the question of arrangements for the Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATE) "salaries will be decreased by 10 percent for salaries in excess of 1,800 euros, the 'customer serving' bonus will be abolished, while the amount in favour of low salary earners will continue."

The hirings of 700 people that had been determined following an ATE test are cancelled.

PM tells cabinet meeting 'social partners' role being strengthened'

Prime Minister George Papandreou, speaking at the cabinet meeting on the Employment ministry's bill, presented by the relevant Minister Louka Katseli, said, according to authoritative reports, that the role of social partners is being boosted.

Papandreou further said that the bill's arrangement also constitutes a challenge for the trade union movement itself to state its position on new forms, so that jobs are not lost. And that the role of the Labour Inspection must be strengthened.

The prime minister added that in parallel, a safety net is being created for working people, like the welfare system, the protection of the unemployed and their additional education, training and preparation so that they can return to the labour market.

The great importance of the development law was also stressed. During the relative discussion, Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou proposed the creation of a coupon with which the state will be able to pay its debts in businesses, which in turn will use it to pay off their obligations towards social insurance funds etc. She also proposed the creation of a venture capital, so that the possibility will also be given to private capital to invest in the country.

Employment Minister Katseli on social partners

Employment and Social Solidarity Minister Louka Katseli, speaking after the cabinet meeting on Thursday, said that "with the special enterprise collective contracts the individual contracts are weakened and the collective contracts are strengthened."

Katseli stressed that it is no longer the employer's right to do what he likes but how salaries will be determined, among other things, work in turns and part-time employment, this is a "field of understanding and negotiating between the social partners."

The minister further noted that this new element "in essence strengthens the role of social partners in businesses."