Greece

Capital: Athens
Population: 10.87m. (2014 est.)

In March 1962 Greece ratified ILO Convention No.87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, 1948) and No.98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining, 1949).

Since 2010 there have been radical changes and challenges for collective bargaining and industrial relations. The Troika-imposed wage devaluation and deregulation of collective bargaining systems have significantly reduced the role of the social partners who no longer have the ability to set the national minimum wage, which is now formulated by the Greek government. The social partners are merely consulted and left to negotiate other nonsalary related terms of employment. Furthermore, there has been a general decentralisation of collective bargaining to enterprise level, which is now rapidly increasing, together with a significant decrease in the renewal of sector-level and occupational collective agreements.

In 2013 a group of around 200 migrant strawberry pickers were fired upon by armed men during a demonstration to demand unpaid wages. 35 workers were injured in the shooting. A court imposed lengthy sentences on two of the men but they were then released on bail pending an appeal. The court acquitted the farm owner. The three-member judicial panel reached the verdict in just 15 minutes and failed to give a reasoned decision.

Greece has a dynamic labour movement, organized into three national centres, the private sector General Confederation of Greek Labour (GSEE), and the public sector Civil Servants’ Confederation (ADEDY), which have an entrenched position as formally recognised trade union centres, and the communist All Workers Militant Front (PAME) centre, which operates as a coordinating centre. Political control of the GSEE vascilated between left social democrats and communists, and in recent years a 'radical left' faction has also supported the Syriza party. The communist faction remains within GSEE, though now finds independent representation within the PAME centre, organized by former GSEE leader and now General Secretary of the WFTU, George Mavrikos. GSEE is the ITUC affiliate, while PAME affiliates to the WFTU.

Full details of the country's political history, the development of trade unionism, and contact and affiliation details for all national trade union centres can be found in ICTUR's in-depth global reference book: Trade Unions of the World.

Link to reportFull country profile: Greece, from Trade Unions of the World (2016)

Link to letterIntervention letter: trade union law reform (2017)

Link to reportIUR article: 'On the other side, you have only crocodiles', Daubler (2017)

Link to reportIUR article: 'Blood strawberries', Bano (2014)

 

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