ECONOMY

Labor bill’s bones of contention

labor-bill-s-bones-of-contention

There are seven points in the labor bill to be publicized in the next few days that have been at the focus of party and union opposition, with flexible eight-hour shifts and the arrangement of working hours being the main bones of contention.

The reaction is expected to escalate over the coming days – as Thursday’s 24-hour strike by some unions and SYRIZA’s opposition policy showed – because that is when the Labor Ministry is going to put the draft law up for consultation.

The main points of controversy, following the leaking of the contents of the bill, concern the following:

– The flexible eight-hour shift, the 10-hour day’s work, and the four-day week: Already the arrangement of working time as an option – not an obligation – for workers on eight-hour shifts is provided by agreement in collective labor contracts, so that in periods of increased employment they can work an extra couple of hours per day, with reduced working time in off-peak periods.

– Overtime increase: The maximum overtime allowed is increased from 96 hours in industry and 120 hours in other sectors, to 150 hours.

– Digital labor card: There will be a digital mechanism connecting workers through their computer to the ministry’s Ergani II database, to record the hours they work, without anyone interfering, starting with the sectors of banking and industry.

– Layoffs: More layoff bans will be added, such as the ban on sacking a father up to six months after his child is born.

– Strike and unionism rights: More transparent rules are promoted so that no industrial action decisions can be made by ghost unions. Unions and employer associations will have to be registered on an online database, while unions will have to accept distance voting.

– Sunday work: More exceptions to the rule against working on Sunday will be added, for sectors such as logistics, data centers and extracurricular activities for children.

– Leave: There will be special clauses for a 14-day paternity leave, and a two-month parental leave for both parents granted by the Hellenic Manpower Employment Organization (OAED).