Troika pushing Greece to allow mass layoffs

Greece’s international creditors are pushing for mass retrenchments and want changes to labor union law on strike action

The Greek government ended its second round of talks in Paris on Wednesday with its troika of international creditors comprised of the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank. The Greek side was represented by Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis,  Development and Competitiveness Minister Nikos Dendias, Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis, Justice Minister Haralambos Athanassiou and Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

“We had productive discussions today (Wednesday) with the ministers,” said the director of the EC’s Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs Declan Costello. “We will make a review on Thursday and we hope to have the total evaluation ready at the end of September.”

Sources state that Greece’s financial lenders are pushing for changes to make it harder for labor unions to call strike action and for legislation allowing for mass layoffs. Specifically, international creditors are calling for the retrenchment of 4,000 employees in the public sector by the end of the year.

The Labor Ministry is preparing studies to show foreign creditors that proposed changes are unfeasible. It did manage to gain some leeway by calling upon the International Labor Organization to assess the effectiveness of potential changes to current laws on dismissals.

Other issues being discussed on Thursday concern the streamlining of the civil service and more pension reforms.

Sources state that the troika has yet to agree to planned changes for the new single property tax (ENFIA).