National General Collective Labour Agreement

Although the continuation of collective bargaining at the national level is particularly valuable in the current situation where there is no further social dialogue, it seems that there is still a long way to go before the role of social partners in regulating labour relations is restored. One of the changes introduced during the crisis was to allow groups of workers and not trade unions to sign enterprise-level agreements. Under Law 4024/2011, these “person associations” can sign collective agreements at the company level, regardless of the size of the company, provided that at least 60% of employees are members and there is no union in the company. At the height of the crisis, they played an important negotiating role. Analysis of the 976 agreements signed in 2012 at the corporate level showed that almost three-quarters (72.6%) 17.4% of trade union organisations at the enterprise level and 10.0% of higher trade union bodies. [7] The same analysis also showed that they generally resulted in lower wages. In two-thirds of cases where agreements were signed by people`s associations, remuneration was reduced to the new national minimum wage – in other words, after the depreciation of the minimum wage, 22% less than the previous rate. The government extended four agreements in September 2018 and, until the end of June 2019, 13 agreements have been extended, including agreements on the tobacco industry, shipping company staff, banks, foreign airline staff and hotel staff in a number of local areas, including Rhodes. The impact of industrial and professional agreements has also been greatly reduced, although some changes have subsequently been reversed. Greece`s accession to the ESM has allowed the country to remain in the markets, but it has also led to a rapid reform of the institutional framework for industrial relations, without the participation of social partners. Employers` and workers` organisations therefore face the challenge of redefining their role in a difficult environment, both for salaried work and for businesses, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. The EGSSE could be a tool for social partners to return from a new position to their role as labour market regulator. However, it seems that the attitude of the social partners remains hesitant and that there is no climate of cooperation for dynamic interventions in the field of labour market regulation.