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Greece’s new labor reform bill and its effects

If we look back at the 1920s there weren't many technological advancements and therefore the way work was done before is completely different from the way it's done now. We might have evolved with our lifestyle, improved on the front of technology, and have made substantial advancements in our working skills but a lot of our laws remain embroiled in the legacy of our past. The draconian rule of clocking at our offices and factories at fixed hours for work remains embedded in our system.

To transform this, the Greek Parliament passed a New Labour Reform bill on June 16, 2021. Though the bill comes with many advantages for the working class, it did not fail to spark controversies. Public riots, strikes, opposition's disagreement were a result of this new law.

Let’s delve into the story to know more.

With 158 votes in a 300-seat Parliament accompanied by lengthy debates, the New Labor Reform bill was passed. The law offers more freedom to the workers to decide their working hours as well as in tackling exploitation, unpaid overtime, and undeclared work.

Features of the bill:-

1. The bill allows employees to opt for a longer working day in exchange for time off. For example, working up to 10 hours on one day and fewer on another. This will bring transparency to the country's economy as unpaid work is the most common cause of a grey economy.

2. The bill also introduced a new digital card that will register and help to monitor the working hours of employees in real-time. It also increases the legal overtime to 150 hours a year. The introduction of the digital card will bring an end to the practice of unpaid overtime and black labor. It will also end sexist violence and sexual harassment in the workplace.

3. It will ensure a 14-day paid leave for new fathers.

4. The law will also enhance transparency between trade unions and employers.

5. It also plans to alienate trade unions from partisan ties.

6. New measures to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace will also be introduced.

7. The law also provides a platform for the protection of trade union rights.

8. It will also give workers the right to disconnect outside of office hours. For example, refusing to work on off days.

The new bill received a lot of backlash from the public and the opposition party.

  • ADEDY, Greece’s main civil servants' union, staged a 24-hour strike against the bill. Their main concern was the government’s scraping-off of the 8-hour working day to10-hour.

  • The unions described the bill as a “monstrosity” and urged the government to take it back. They raised their concern that the new bill would reverse long-established workers’ rights and allow companies to bring in longer hours through the back door.

  • Apart from the parties showing their disapproval, the public also demonstrated rallies to urge the government in taking this bill back. Stoppages in public transport, railway services, and protests in Central Athens were witnessed.

Nevertheless, the bill aims to strengthen the rights of the workers and correct the injustices of the past. In short, it’ll give power to the employee, which has not been properly interpreted by the public.


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