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Politics

New Bill Brings Battle Between SYRIZA and Labour Min Hatzidakis

ATHENS — Labour and Social Affairs Minister Kostis Hatzidakis on Tuesday rejected the main opposition's criticism of his draft bill on labour issues, accusing SYRIZA of "attacking with fake news".

Contrary to the opposition's claims, he said, the bill protected employees from employer abuse and being forced to work unpaid overtime by introducing a digital labour card that will automatically detect all unlawful practices.

He also highlighted other positive points, such as paid leave for fathers as well as mothers, extending parental leave for parents of both sexes and removing disincentives for the hiring of women, strict measures against workplace violence and sexual harassment, protecting the rights of remote workers, courier and delivery staff and others.

Hatzidakis also claimed that the overtime measures that SYRIZA vociferously objected to were not new but had been in force for the last 30 years, including the period when SYRIZA was in power, and were governed by a European directive, while there was no question of scrapping the eight-hour day.

Main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance, in an announcement on Tuesday, called the government's draft bill on labour issues "a legislative monstrosity" and warned Prime Minister Kyriakos Mistotakis "to not even think of bringing it to parliament."

Responding to statements by Labour Minister Kostis Hatzidakis to Skai TV on Tuesday, SYRIZA said that Hatzidakis "reaffirmed that that bill on labour relations prepared by the government scraps the eight-hour day and establishes a 10-hour day with unpaid overtime, combined with individual labour contracts so that the workers are fully weakened and forced to accept the employer's conditions under the threat of the sack."

According to the main opposition, the "Mitsotakis government is declaring war on workers and using the pandemic as an excuse to promote unpaid work, flexible working hours and a reduction of income through the unpaid overtime, while baptising these medieval working conditions as a "modernisation of labour legislation."

SYRIZA commented that "if someone in Mitsotakis' government had worked for even a single day in their life, they would not dare to even whisper these disgraceful things".

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