« They can declare our strikes as illegal as they want, that’s thesmachines boats that will have the last mot ”. Small, with a two-day-old beard, salt and pepper hair and a gruff look, Giorgos, in his fifties, has been shouting for hours. The sun is not yet wide awake that it is already there with his guys to set up the pickets in front of the boats moored in Piraeus. Before 6 a.m., it’s done. Two men decided on each side of the access doors block the entry of the boats with a large banner.

More flexibility

For 24 hours, no ship will leave Piraeus in protest against the new labor law which, according to the government, aims to strengthen labor flexibility while regulating the right to strike. According to the unions, section 57 allows the employer to impose up to 150 hours of overtime per year at the rate of two more hours of work per day, mostly recovered on rest, and this depending on the business needs.

→ READ. In Greece, the government puts universities in line

The text also requires a minimum service in the event of a strike in the public services. On several occasions in recent days, thousands of Greeks have taken to the streets across the country to protest.

Sunday, a day like any other

The strike was declared illegal by the Piraeus court, but this did not shake Giorgos’ determination by an inch: “ After a while, you have nothing more to lose. They want to make us slaves who will work according to the needs of the company, without any rights, for a pittance.e.It is an inadmissible step back “.

Same story 16 kilometers away in the center of Athens, paralyzed by the thousands of strikers who pound the pavement. “With this law, Sunday becomes a day like any other, work, for a large number of professions ”, explains Maria, unemployed, at the head of the procession. And her friend Athina, a civil servant, to drive the point home between two slogans: “There will be no more counterweight, no more weapons to defend the employees ».

Parental leave for the first time

Right in his boots, Prime Minister Kiriakos Mitsotakis brushes aside these arguments. “This law solves the problems of the past, answers questions of the present and prepare for the future ”, he asserts.Minister of Laboremphasizes that ” for the firsttime,on solve the problems of telework, we give paid parental leave to both parentss and we are putting in place a framework against sexual harassment at work ”.

“From powder to eyes “, launched the leader of the Communist Party in a more than lively exchange in parliament. For the former prime minister of the left and leader of the opposition, Alexis Tsipras, ” this law is a return to the Middle Ages decided outside a period of crisis, without creditors on the back.It is an ideological war ”. A point of view shared by Kostas Mellas, retired economist from Pantion University in Athens. “For the government, wages and hours must be stable and determined solely by the employer ”. The aim of the operation is to gain flexibility, to stimulate growth.

The reform was adopted on Wednesday June 16, late in the evening, by the only majority of the conservative party in power. The unions who continue their mobilization will do everything to ensure that it remains a dead letter.


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