Labor snubs SEV pay proposals

Labor union umbrella group GSEE’s leader Christos Polyzogopoulos yesterday rejected recent proposals by employers, in negotiations over a national pay pact, which broke with established practice by envisaging two-tier raises in terms of specific sums rather than percentage increases which would favor the lowest paid. «The unions cannot accept the logic of quantitative increases and will seek a uniform percentage increase, in parallel with a clear strengthening of the lowest wage,» he told a press briefing on preparations for May 1 celebrations. Polyzogopoulos said negotiations have to be speeded up and concluded by May 10, «otherwise we are heading toward a clash and new union mobilizations.» He called on the government to abandon its neutral stance on pay raises and make clear its position on how Greek wages and salaries are to converge with the EU average within eight years, according to its pre-election promise. «There are no neutral policies; ‘neutral’ positions are always in favor of the powerful – in this case, employers’ organizations.» Employers’ proposed pay raises average about 4.5 percent. GSEE initially asked for about 8 percent and a 39-hour workweek. According to the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV), the «new philosophy» in pay increases closes the gap between the lowest and mid-level incomes and that further increases for productivity gains might be feasible according to sector. The civil servants’ union ADEDY warned the government that any attempt to make inroads into established rights will mean an end to dialogue.

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