Labor Ministry backpedals on stricter union regulations

Labor Ministry backpedals on stricter union regulations

Fears of a backlash prompted the Labor Ministry late on Monday night to call back stricter regulations for the operation of unions, particularly in regards to how they call strikes.

The amendment agreed with the country’s international lenders over the weekend demanded that unions gather a greater number of votes from their members in order to call a strike by at least 50 percent from one-third or even one-fifth that it currently the case.

The civil servant’s union ADEDY had called a nationwide strike for Tuesday to protest the measure and communist-affiliated union PAME was planning a rally in downtown Athens, but it appears that fears of reactions from within the leftist ruling party motivated the Labor Ministry’s leadership to go back to the drawing board.

“When the new amendments are submitted, there will be time for a broader discussion on their content in Parliament,” a source in the ministry said.

The atmosphere within leftist SYRIZA is tense as dozens of reforms must be legislated in the coming weeks, some of them contentious, following the agreement with creditors.

Former education minister Nikos Filis, an outspoken SYRIZA MP, congratulated Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos for “meeting all bailout commitments on time” in overtly sarcastic tones on Monday after Tsakalotos go the green light for the deal from Eurogroup finance ministers.

Interior Minister Panos Skourletis welcomed the deal, noting that it gave the leftist-led coalition the leeway to proceed without excessive pressure, but noted that Greece’s commitments will not end with the expiry of its third bailout in August, saying creditors will still press Athens on fiscal targets.

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