Union keeps mum on the cartels

Meetings between employees and unions, where that they can resolve disagreements and reach some common ground on controversial issues, are a good thing. Such contacts should be welcome, even if one of the two sides is on the ropes due to cartel allegations (and is for that reason trying to change the agenda of the meeting). That said, we should welcome the meeting between the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV) and the General Confederation of Workers (GSEE). The problem is that statements after the event showed that the timing of the meeting was not right. GSEE failed to raise one of the main concerns dogging those whom the organization claims to represent: meaning high prices, a problem that is largely the result of cartels setting market prices. It was surprising to see the usually militant GSEE chief turning a deaf ear to persistent journalists’ questions about the recent wave of cartel allegations. Is GSEE not concerned with high prices, a perennial target of union criticism? Does GSEE not grasp that high prices are largely the result of distorted market competition? Why does the union fail to point a finger at a source of worker malaise? Whatever the reason behind the confederation’s silence, one thing is certain: When it comes to such issues, silence is not golden. It means poverty for consumers and wealth for the companies behind the cartels.