ILO urges industrial relations consensus as Greek economy rebuilds

30 Nov 15

The United Nation’s International Labour Organisation has called for collective bargaining, consensus and social dialogue in rebuilding the Greek labour market.

Following an official visit to the country, the ILO reaffirmed its commitment to providing technical support to Greece and enhancing social dialogue to help improve its labour market as the country undergoes significant reform.

ILO director general Guy Ryder was in Greece last week to discuss the country’s economic and social reforms. He said: “Achieving better job quality, reducing labour market insecurity, improving work conditions and ensuring healthy and safe work places presupposes that bipartite and tripartite social dialogue and collective bargaining find their place in policy making.”

Ryder took part in a ‘Tripartite Round Table Social Dialogue’ with Greek partners, representatives from employers and workers to identify improvements on social dialogue mechanism.

He urged government and social partners to explore consensus-driven solutions to address the problems caused by unemployment, underemployment and informal jobs.

The ILO will also provide technical support to help the country address these issues. Ryder’s visit came at a time of critical reforms in labour law, pensions and the broader industrial relations framework in the country as part of a multi-billion euro bailout package.

Prime minister Alex Tsipras, of the Left-wing Syriza party, faced discontent among his electorate and a general strike earlier this month after accepting further controversial austerity measures from Greece’s creditors in order to secure a third bailout deal.

The unemployment rate in the country is currently around 25%. Approximately three-quarters unemployed people have been out of work for a year and young people are disproportionately affected. Greece’s economy is expected to contract by a further 0.7% in 2016 as the country tries to curb expenditure and increase revenue.

The recapitalisation of four Greek banks was also a major condition of the most recent trance of bailout loans. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development recently became a major stakeholder in all four.

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