Contentious job reforms become law

The government managed to pass through Parliament yesterday its controversial labor market reforms aimed at boosting the country’s competitiveness while unions vowed to continue protest action against the law that they described as only serving the interests of employers. The draft bill was voted in with 55 votes for and 41 against in a summer session of Parliament attended by just a third of the MPs who usually sit in the 300-seat house. All opposition parties voted against the law while the Communist Party (KKE) withdrew from the voting process on Wednesday. The law includes introducing more flexible working hours and cutting the cost of overtime to an initial rate of 25 percent on top of an employee’s normal hourly wage from the previous 50 percent. The government argues that the reforms will also help fight the country’s stubbornly high unemployment rates. Greece’s largest umbrella union, GSEE, which called a 24-hour strike on Tuesday, has said it will organize new protests against the reforms in September.

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