Greek labor minister says IMF demands are ‘unreasonable’

9 February 2017
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The International Monetary Fund’s stance on the Greek bailout is “problematic” and its demands of the cash-strapped country “unreasonable,” Labor Minister Efi Achtsioglou said on Thursday.

Speaking after a visit to the Labor Inspection Corps in Alexandroulpoli, northern Greece, the minister who holds of the country’s stickiest portfolios said the IMF’s demand for the upfront legislation of measures to be passed if Greece fails to hit targets at the end of the bailout program is “economically unreasonable.”

The government’s aim, she said, is to wrap up the pending bailout review as soon as possible so that Greece can join the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing (QE) program and “consolidate the trend of improvement seen in the Greek economy this past year.”

“For our part, we have already implemented nearly 80 percent of the prior actions. Only labor reform is still pending precisely because of this disagreement,” Achtsioglou said.

Her priority, she said, “is to put a brake on the autocratic practices of employers, which have intensified recently, mainly as a result of the disintegration of the institutional framework of labor relations in the 2010-2014 period.”

The minister reiterated the government’s aim to reintroduce collective labor bargaining – something the country’s creditors are staunchly opposed to – arguing that this would “provide workers with a safety net and create the conditions for healthy competition between businesses.”

She said that collective contracts are an effective way of curbing illegal practices and would ultimately benefit the social security system by ensuring an inflow of resources to cash-strapped funds and “creating a sense of normality in the economy.”

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