GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer met with Greece’s Labour Minister Efi Achtsioglou to discuss the ongoing negotiations between the Greek government and the EU institutions, in particular the protection of labour rights.

Athens had previously expressed serious concerns that the EU is not willing to allow the Greek government to re-establish collective bargaining and collective agreements in the country. However, such a move would be incompatible with EU legislation and practice.

Furthermore, selective policies for member states and exclusions over labour rights would seriously undermine the European social model as collective labour agreements are an important element of European acquis which must be applied to all member states. Greece must not be exempted from such principles.

Speaking after the meeting, Zimmer commented:

“I fully support the recommendations from a group of independent international experts which asked to restore collective bargaining and agreements in order to stabilise the situation in Greece.”

“We call on the Eurogroup not to deprive an EU member state from establishing collective bargaining and collective agreements which is one of the most important and fundamental of workers' rights in the EU. The EU institutions are bound by and must respect Article 28 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.”

“We call on the EU institutions to respect that European legislation on labour law has to be fully implemented. Greece cannot be an exemption where EU principles and legislation do not apply. Collective bargaining is a democratic principle which allows workers and employees to benefit from the growth of companies.”

“Many MEPs and their committees here in the European Parliament agree that Greece needs an urgent debt restructuring in order to pave the way for sustainable development,” concluded Zimmer.

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