New Democracy Wants E-Vote Before Strikes, Collective Bargaining Waiver

Protesters from a labor union shout slogans during a 24-hour strike in front of the parliament in central Athens, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. Greek island ferries were moored in port, many Athens public transport services were shut down and state hospitals functioned on emergency staffing due to Tuesday's strike by Greek unions against draft legislation that would make it harder for unions to call strikes in the future. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS – Moving to help businesses – at what critics said is the diluting of workers rights – the new New Democracy Conservative government has filed legislation requiring an electronic vote of union members to show if there’s majority support for a strike and excluding from collective bargaining businesses on the verge of closing down.

Coming after other legislation to let companies fire people without greater notice, the party’s moves are seen by unions and workers as an assault on their rights at the same time the new government is moving to accelerate major projects that were stymied under the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA.

New Democracy said it wants to liberalize Greece’s labor sector but the new bill has drawn rapid fire from unions and the leftist opposition – who also reduced workers rights to meet demands of the country’s European creditors.

Another provision in the draft bill foresees the possibility of unilateral recourse to arbitration – under strict conditions – as well as an extension of the current national general collective bargaining agreement under the end of 2019, said the business newspaper Naftermporiki.

There is an article friendly to workers that specifies that a more than two-month delay in the payment of wages will be considered a “detrimental change” in employer-employees relations. The legislation is geared toward reducing part-time jobs in favor of full-time, the report said.