Labor unions warn against French-style workplace proposal

Greek labor unions will not tolerate any measures similar to those recently proposed by the French government that disregard the rights of young employees, Christos Polyzogopoulos, the president of the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), the umbrella union organization, said yesterday. «Let the hand of any trade unionist who will sign such arrangements drop off,» he told a press briefing. Regarding tomorrow’s scheduled resumption of negotiations with employers over a national pay pact, Polyzogopoulos warned that if the other side sticks to the line displayed last week by Federation of Greek Industries (SEV) President Odysseas Kyriakopoulos, then a head-on clash will be inescapable. Kyriakopoulos had proposed a «generous» average pay raise of 2.8 percent, arguing that the much lower increases offered elsewhere in the eurozone had to be taken into account. He also called for a freezing of wages in industries that are facing financial and cash-flow problems and their exclusion from the national pay pact provisions. Polyzogopoulos presented the results of a survey conducted on behalf of GSEE earlier this month, according to which nearly two-thirds of working people disapprove of the government’s record in handling major issues affecting working people. The survey, carried out by Metron Analysis, shows that 61.9 percent of respondents have a negative view of measures to protect pensions and 64.5 percent of raises in salaries and wages. Some 64.3 percent think the government is doing too little to stem the rising cost of living, 66.5 disapprove of measures to combat unemployment and 59.3 percent oppose plans to reform social security. Further, 67.8 percent said the government’s laws mainly help employers and only 6.4 percent said they favor working people, while 83.7 percent consider an increase in public and private investment as the best policy in areas of high unemployment.