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Posted on: September 13th, 2012 by AlYunaniya Staff No Comments

Greece’s coalition leaders: no final agreement on austerity package

Samaras with media

photo: ND flickr

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Coalition leaders meeting yesterday, once again brought no final agreement on the new austerity package, with layoffs in the public sector and radical labour market reforms to be considered ‘red lines’, Greek politicians seem determined to defend.

Following a meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the leader of Democratic Left, Fotis Kouvelis, who appears against increasing the retirement age to 67 and layoffs in the civil service argued: “No measures can be imposed on a society that is disintegrating,” he said.

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos argued that Greece’s labour market rules must be the same as in the rest of Europe. He reiterated his demand for Greece’s fiscal adjustment period to be extended by two years, Kathimerini writes. On the other hand, he appeared optimistic: “There is small progress every day,” he said. “My experience tells me that we will reach a comprehensive agreement.”

Meanwhile, talks with troika head representatives continue. Finance minister Yannis Stournaras and the troika heads met yesterday afternoon aim at drafting around EUR 9-10 billion worth of measures from the total EUR 11.9 billion package, protothema.gr writes. The government aims to overcome the objections of the auditors, however the latter seem persistent in rejecting around EUR 2-2.5 billion of measures. According to the initial plan, Stournaras is about to present the list of measures to the Eurogroup tomorrow in Nicosia.

Troika’s technical experts continued talks yesterday at the Employment Ministry, with the debate focusing on changes to labour regulations. Troika’s demands towards the ministry included abolishing the 8-hour working day and allowing employers to ask staff to work up to 78 hours a week. The only restriction in terms of working hours is that employees should be allowed a minimum of 11 hours of rest between shifts or working days. Media reports say that the troika has also asked for a reduction in the period of redundancy notice that employers have to give, thereby allowing them to pay half of the total compensation payment due. The current notice period is four to six months. Troika has also asked for the retirement age to rise by two years to 67, effective immediately, meaning workers who were due to retire next year could have to wait another two years.


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