Greece wants to speed up minimum wage rise after bailout exit

Reuters — Greece on Wednesday submitted a draft amendment to parliament to speed up the process of raising the minimum wage for the first time since 2009 when a national debt crisis erupted.

The move comes a month after Greece emerged from its third international bailout.

The minimum wage was slashed by up to 32 per cent to about 500 euros during the crisis as part of measures prescribed by the country’s lenders to make the labour market more flexible and the economy more competitive.

The amount of the increase in the minimum wage will be determined by January 2019, following consultations between employers, unions and the government, according to the draft law.

Greece had told its European lenders that it would reinstate the minimum wage review after the end of the bailout.

It added that “the immediate activation of the relevant process is imperative” and the minimum wage should reflect the country’s economic improvement.

Earlier this month, Labour Minister Effie Achtsioglou approved the extension of collective wage agreements in several sectors, including tourism, starting the process of the restoration of collective bargaining, which is supposed to be one of the basic principles of EU labour legislation.

The International Monetary Fund has warned that reversing labour reforms would weigh on the recovery of private sector investment and job creation, at a crucial moment for the country which is struggling to regain investors’ trust.

Labour ministry agencies have also stepped up inspections on businesses for any labour law and workers’ rights violations.