Talks on labor contracts collapse

Talks between Labor Minister Antonis Roupakiotis and representatives of business and labor unions collapsed on Friday over differences on collective labor contracts.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Roupakiotis said that decisions would be put off until after general elections scheduled for June 17.

?We agreed to avert tensions on this issue and wait for the emergence of a new government,? Roupakiotis said.

According to state television Net, labor unionists clashed with the head of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), Dimitris Daskalopoulos, with the former essentially accusing the latter of backroom dealing with representatives of Greece?s foreign creditors ? the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, known collectively as the troika — on the issue of labor contracts.

In comments to reporters, Daskalopoulos defended his stance opposite the troika. ?We approached the troika through the front door, not the back door,? he said.

Unionists reiterated their vehement opposition to changes to contracts that protect the rights of workers in the private sector.

The head of the Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), Yiannis Panagopoulos, noted that laws could only be overturned by new laws while a spokesman for the Communist-affiliated labor union PAME described the situation in private firms in Greece as ?hellish? and called on workers to fight to protect collective labor contracts.