This week sees a series of meetings between Greek government officials and representatives of the institutions as part of the second bailout review negotiations. These talks take place ahead of the Eurogroup meeting of 5 December, where discussions on an agreement on the restructuring of the Greek public debt will open. According to Greek sources, both the IMF and the European institutions will insist on their views on further dismantling collective bargaining processes, despite the fact that this right is protected by the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Commenting before the Eurogroup meeting, Greens/EFA economic and finance spokesperson Sven Giegold said:
“The institutions’ plans for labour market reforms in Greece are blind to fundamental European law. The institutions aim at ignoring the legally grounded role of the social partners by excluding any discussion on bringing back the determination of the minimum salary to the partners’ jurisdiction. This legal blindness is even extended by the institutions’ insistence on limiting sectoral agreements and enabling agreements at the enterprise level to set lower wage levels.
These positions violate the spirit of Article 28 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and Article 6 of the European Social Charter and thereby attack the rights of workers and employers to negotiate and conclude collective agreements. Beyond the legal sphere, the practices of social partner cooperation of most EU member states are being ignored. The Eurogroup should take the International Labour Organisation (ILO) seriously: the ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association has already provided a strong hint towards the problem by condemning the reforms in the labour market by the previous Economic Adjustment Programmes.”
Greens/EFA’s Financial Assistance Working Group member, Ernest Urtasun, added:
“It is important to recall the recent ruling of the European Court of Justice on the Ledra Advertising case, which confirms that the European Commission retains its role as guardian of the Treaties when acting within the ESM framework and is bound by EU law in the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding provisions.
We therefore urge the European Commission and the EU institutions to refrain from further deregulation efforts in the Greek labour market. The EU negotiators must stop immediately from proposing reforms which violate EU law. Instead, the role of collective bargaining should be fully restored, in accordance with EU legislation and in the spirit of safeguarding the European social model.”
Please, find a letter calling on the President of the European Commission Juncker, Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Moscovici and Commissioner Thyssen to abstain from contributing to weakening European and international law: https://sven-giegold.de/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Letter-labour-market-reforms-by-Green-MEPs-to-EU-Commission.pdf