Athens witnessed thousands of Greeks protesting against the Government’s planned labour reforms. The protest marches and strikes saw overwhelming participation with at least 10,000 workers becoming part of the rally outside the parliament.
The strike that lasted an entire day, affected public transport. The parliament is to vote on the bill in June 2021, but labour unions are against the reforms. They feel, in trying to bring about flexibility, the eight-hour work day will get extended to 10 hours, and that the five-day work week will also go for a toss. The reforms, they think, will tamper with collective bargaining agreements, and also make it more difficult to call strikes.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, however, is of the opinion that the measures will modernise the outdated laws, offering workers the option to choose their own convenient schedules. The reforms are aimed at controlling exploitation and checking the practice of unpaid overtime and work, which is not recorded or declared, and which otherwise leads to untaxed work. The bill will allow workers the right to disconnect beyond work hours and allows a ‘digital work card’ to monitor employees’ working hours in real time. It will also increase the legal overtime to 150 hours annually.
The workers are objecting to the fact that the bill allows employees to work up to 10 hours on one day and for lesser hours on another day. This increases the possibility of employers imposing longer hours on the workers. Therefore, workers are demanding that the government stick to the eight-hour work day.