Friday

24th Nov 2017

Impose six-day working week or risk losing bail-out, Troika warns Greece

Greece should impose a six-day week to secure the next tranche of its bail-out package, according to a leaked letter sent by the country's creditors.

Under a heading "increase flexibility of work schedules" the Troika - which is composed of officials from the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) - states that the country should "increase the number of maximum working days to six days across all sectors."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Greek football fans at Euro2012 earlier this year - youth unemployment is over 50 percent (Photo: 2dubstEEr)

It adds that the government should also reduce daily rest between shifts to the 11 hours minimum and scrap restrictions on the length of shifts.

However, Greek employers will still be bound by EU labour laws such as the directive on working time, which requires workers to average no more than 48 hours per week over a four month period.

The leaked letter, which was circulated to Greek government departments last week, is the latest indication from the stricken country's creditors that there will be no further relaxation of the terms governing Greece's €300 billion bail-out.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has also been told to find an additional €11.6 billion of cuts for 2013 and 2014 despite the publication on Tuesday (4 September) of a report by the Center of Planning and Economic Research (Kepe), a Greek economic research body, maintaining that the new cuts would deepen the country's five year recession by a further 4 percent.

Despite this, Troika officials and EU politicians have continued to accuse the Greek government of dragging its feet in implementing labour market reforms.

On Tuesday (4 September) German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble insisted that there was no further wriggle-room at a meeting with Greek counterpart Yannis Stournaras in Berlin. In a statement on the German finance ministry's website, Schauble stated that it was "vital that Greece fulfils its promises completely."

Later this month the Troika is expected to present its report on the pace of Greek reforms to determine whether to continue the rescue package.

The next €31 billion instalment is dependent on a favourable assessment.

Recent data collected by Paris based think-tank the OECD found that Greeks worked 2,109 hours per year, more than 20 percent higher than the eurozone average of 1,573.

However, with the country's unemployment rate now the second highest in the eurozone at 23 percent, including an eye-watering 55 percent of under 25s out of education, training or work, Greece lags behind in total hours worked.

The Troika argues that weekend working hours could help boost competitiveness in the labour market.

Samaras' coalition government is also facing down continued public protests against the severity of the cuts.

On Tuesday, 300 pensioners stormed the health ministry demanding a meeting with minister Andreas Lykourentzos over new healthcare cuts. As with previous budget cuts, further cuts to public spending would be dependent on adoption by the Greek parliament.

Samaras visit marks 'new relations' with Germany

Greek leader Antonis Samaras has said talks on Friday with Angela Merkel marked the start of new relations between Athens and Berlin but the German chancellor remained characteristically cautious.

Hollande and Merkel in show of unity on Greece

The German and French leaders put on a careful display of unity on Greece on Thursday in Berlin, appearing briefly before press to urge Athens to continue reforms.

Agenda

German court and Dutch elections to shape WEEK ahead

EU watchers will be spoiled for choice this week as a series of important events are likely to compete for their attention - top of the bill is a decision by Germany's highest court on the eurozone's bailout fund.

Analysis

EU 'cannot afford' lengthy German deadlock

Angela Merkel's failure to form a coalition government has raised concerns in Europe that the EU's most powerful country will send the block into paralysis.

News in Brief

  1. Rwanda may resettle 30,000 migrants from Libya
  2. EU tax haven blacklist may include Turkey
  3. No UK 'capital of culture' city post-Brexit
  4. EU sets up natural disaster rescue team
  5. Spain sends migrant arrivals to unfinished prison
  6. Iceland prepares for biggest volcano to blow
  7. Greek parliament postpones debate on Saudi arms deal
  8. Family of murdered Malta journalist to sue police

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  4. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  5. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  6. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  7. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  8. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  10. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  11. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  12. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!

Latest News

  1. EU awaits UK proposals in final push for Brexit breakthrough
  2. Berlin risks being 'culprit' for stalling EU, warns Green MEP
  3. Eastern partners, eastern problems
  4. Germany's Schulz under pressure to enter coalition talks
  5. LuxLeaks trial re-opens debate on whistleblowers' protection
  6. Wilders says Russia is 'no enemy' ahead of Moscow visit
  7. EU must put Sudan under microscope at Africa summit
  8. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya