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Society

Greece’s Public, Private Workers Join Strike Over Labor Law Changes

September 21, 2023

ATHENS – Greece’s capital was throttled Sept. 21 by a 24-hour strike against a New Democracy government labor law that drew street protests from public employees who walked off the job, joined by teachers, doctors and others.

That was over Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ plan to try to eliminate undeclared work at the same time the government would allow workers to have a second job that would count toward their pension benefits.

He was easily re-elected in a June 25 second round of polls and controls the 300-member Parliament with 158 lawmakers, allowing him to do whatever he wants without any veto.

A protester chants a slogan through a loudspeaker , in front of a banner which partially reads in Greek “Permanent Job -salary increases in Athens, on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023 during a 24-hour strike by Greece’s civil servant union to protest proposed labor law changes.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Trains and buses were operating on reduced hours during the one-day nationwide strike called by Greece’s largest public sector union ADEDY while stat hospitals had emergency staff and many schools closed, reported Reuters.

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/greek-state-workers-strike-against-government-labour-law-plans-2023-09-21/

“We demand the bill’s withdrawal,” said ADEDY, which represents about half a million workers although hundreds of strikes since 2010 when Greece went into an economic and austerity crisis haven’t worked to move any government.

A protester chants a slogan through a loudspeaker , in Athens, on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023 during a 24-hour strike by Greece’s civil servant union to protest proposed labor law changes.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

The walkout is the first against Mitsotakis’ government since he was re-elected in June. The bill would allow full-time employees to get a part-time second job and work up to 13 hours a day unless certain terms apply such as conflict of interest. It also enables employers to implement a six-day working week.

According to the bill, an employee can be fired within the first year of work without warning or remuneration, unless agreed otherwise, the report added.

It allows a probation period up to six months, but requires employers to provide detailed terms or face a fine up to 10,500 euros ($11,250) if they don’t declare an employee’s extension of working hours or change of shifts.

The bill introduces fines and a six-month jail term against those who obstruct employees from working during a strike, the major opposition SYRIZA saying the government has a “secret agenda” against workers.

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