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Emergency bill tabled on state cost-cutting, labor relations

Δημοσίευση 11 Δεκεμβρίου 2010, 10:35 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
Emergency bill tabled on state cost-cutting, labor relations
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A draft law titled "Urgent Measures for the Implementation of the Support Programme" was tabled in Parliament on Thursday evening, foreseeing drastic changes to collective labour agreements and deep reforms in the labour market, as well as wide-ranging wage cuts in loss-making state utilities and enterprises.

A draft law titled "Urgent Measures for the Implementation of the Support Programme" was tabled in Parliament on Thursday evening, foreseeing drastic changes to collective labour agreements and deep reforms in the labour market, as well as wide-ranging wage cuts in loss-making state utilities and enterprises.

The bill was discussed during a lengthy meeting of the Cabinet earlier in the day.

The bill will be debated via an urgent process on Monday by parliament's standing committee on economic affairs, 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 enter into force as of January 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.

Under the new legislation, special business working agreements will overcome sector labour agreements by limiting the ceiling of basic pay in a national collective contract, which is 740 euros. The terms of the business working agreements will be agreed on an annual basis and will be reviewed by the end of each year. Negotiations will be held between an enterprise and the company employees' union and will cover not only wages but also the number of jobs in the enterprise, part-time employment and availability. Business agreements will not have any limitation on dismissals while it will also offer an option of returning to sector labour agreements.

All enterprises are eligible to be included in the Special Business Collective Working Agreement (EESSE) status after submitting a financial report to the Employment Inspection Council for recommendation.

The draft law was tabled jointly by the finance ministry and the employment and social security ministry.