Troika demanding increase to working week, retirement age

Technical experts from the troika are expected at the Labor Ministry in Athens on Wednesday following the latest demands for liberalization of the Greek labor market by the Greek lenders.

Sources said that during a meeting between Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis and troika chiefs on Tuesday, Greece?s lenders upped their demands for changes to labor regulations.

These requests included scrapping the eight-hour working day and allowing employers to ask staff to work up to 78 hours a week. The only restriction in terms of working hours is that employees should be allowed a minimum of 11 hours of rest between shifts or working days.

The troika has also reportedly asked for a reduction in the period of redundancy notice that employers have to give, thereby allowing them to pay half of the total compensation payment due. The current notice period is four to six months.

The inspectors also asked for the retirement age to rise by two years to 67, following the last rise in 2010. The troika is said to want to the increased limit to be effective immediately, meaning workers who were due to retire next year could have to wait another two years. This measure is estimated to save 1 billion euros.

The government had planned for about 5 billion euros of the 11.5 billion euros in spending cuts the troika is demanding to come from reductions in wages, pensions and welfare benefits but this number is now set to exceed 6 billion.