People look after their own

The Federation of Greek Industries (SEV) and the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) appear to be on honeymoon and that is no doubt good news. Sure, eternal class peace is a pipe dream. But sincere cooperation between employers and employees can boost a company’s growth and benefit all sides. After all, permanent consultation between the employers, the employees and the state is standard EU practice and it is reflected in the Commission’s social and labor policies. In Greece, however, cooperation between employers and employees is neither steady nor sincere and the ongoing honeymoon is mainly based on SEV’s and GSEE’s shared enmity toward the government – each for their own reasons. After meeting with GSEE President Yiannis Panagopoulos, SEV Chairman Dimitris Daskalopoulos said that industrialists and workers together form a big labor cartel. But SEV does not represent the entire industry while GSEE only represents workers in the public utilities, so it’s obvious that vested interests have indeed formed a cartel that turns against uncooperative governments. For example, Daskalopoulos, who is also president of Delta Holdings, reacts because the government wants to fight price-fixing in the dairy food market. But instead of quitting his post at SEV, at least until the Competition Commission report is released, he slams the government for being all words and no action on reform. Meanwhile, the government cut the business tax and pushed measures to help industrialists in the provinces. Arrogance, it seems, goes hand in hand with ingratitude. GSEE has this year staged three 24-hour strikes against high prices, but is turning a blind eye to price setting in the milk market. People look after their own.