Greece’s Labor Ministry to Modernize Union Law

strike-GreeceGreece’s Labor Ministry is set to modernize the legislative framework on trade unions after 32 years, according to the Greek newspaper To Ethnos, which says radical changes are to effect union financing and strike-announcement procedures.

The changes will also seek to address the disintegration of Greece’s trade unions, by modernizing a legal framework for them that was put through in 1982. Over the years, the prestige of the unions has been lost, while ever fewer workers are actively participating in unions and industrial action.

The five changes that are being put on the table are:

  1. The financing of the union movement: it will be discussed whether the unions should be funded by the state or solely rely on voluntary contributions by their members.
  2. The problem of the unions’ disintegration: The possibility of consolidating unions will be addressed.
  3. The procedures by which strikes are announced is to change: decisions are to be taken by a majority of union workers.
  4. The credibility issue involving Greece’s unions.
  5. Leave of absence for union workers: state employees enjoy more paid leave than workers in the private sector.

Talks between ministry officials and representatives of Greece’s labor and social partners on the new law are expected to continue until late September, with a bill likely to be before Parliament by around December 2014.