Reform talks with GSEE to kick off

Senior government officials will meet with the country’s largest umbrella union, GSEE, today to discuss proposed reforms to the labor market in a meeting that is expected to largely determine the next wave of strike action that will hit the country this summer. Employment Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos will meet with GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos today after being turned down for an initial meeting last week due to the union chief being out of the country. Dialogue on the proposed reforms has so far been met cautiously by GSEE, as sources at the umbrella union describe the reforms as being one-sided and hastily put together. Among the structural changes the government hopes to push through soon is an extension to the current work day for retailers. It also wants to increase employer flexibility by allowing them the right to ask employees for more overtime depending on the needs of the business. As a sweetener to the increase in work hours, the government is expected today to offer pay increases ranging from 25 percent to as much as 100 percent, depending on the exact number of extra hours worked. A draft bill on the extended opening hours of shops was submitted to Parliament on Friday and is expected to be passed by the end of the month. The government says that the reforms will help boost the economy, create more jobs and increase competitiveness. An opinion echoed by an OECD report on Greece last week described boosting productivity growth as being a central challenge for the country.

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