MPs vote on reforms amid clash of views

Opinions of the government’s proposed labor reforms among the country’s political parties were at their most polarized yesterday, as Parliament prepared to enter the last day of debate on the bill today before MPs cast their ballot in the evening. The draft law aims to introduce more flexible work-hours and reduces the cost of overtime to an initial rate of 25 percent on top of an employee’s normal hourly wage. Thanks to the government’s majority, the bill is expected to be voted into law comfortably today, albeit in a summer session of Parliament attended by just a third of the MPs who usually sit in the 300-seat house. However, the opposition yesterday made it clear that the government would have to rely on its own deputies to see the bill through. The leader of the Communist Party (KKE), Aleka Papariga, said her party was withdrawing from the debate and vote, accusing the government of bringing back 19th century work conditions. Labor Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos countered that the bill was actually moving Greece into the 21st century. He also denied accusations from PASOK leader George Papandreou that the government was «investing in cheap labor» and «creating insecurity.»

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