Greece after the euro summit: Uncertainty ahead for Greece’s public services and workers

At a euro summit yesterday, the heads of state or government of the eurozone member states decided on a set of measures that Greece needs to fulfill in order to potentially qualify for an ESM support programme and thus stay in the eurozone. The measures mean uncertainty with regards to the future of the Greek public services as well as labour rights and working conditions of private and public sector employees.

Greece after the euro summit: Uncertainty ahead for Greece’s public services and workers

In an opinion article, CESI Secretary-General Klaus Heeger recently explained, once again, why excessive austerity measures in Greece without long-term vision must be stopped. Now, the joint statement adopted at the euro summit reveals that Greece will have to continue to go down the same path of austerity as before if it wishes to remain in the euro area. Instruments provided by the euro zone for some assistance for investments is counteracted by a wave of intended measures that will likely compromise on the provision of public services and have negative implications on workers.

Collective bargaining, industrial action and collective dismissal rules are to be “modernised”. CESI fears that this will equal a further decrease in worker rights.

Moreover, Greek assets worth a total of 50 billion EUR must be privatised. CESI believes that the privatisation of public services is in many cases likely to decrease the quality of services, which in the long-term runs counter to the interest of the Greek people.

Finally, the costs of the Greek administration are to be “further reduced” in order to “modernise” it. CESI fears that this will entail many simple cuts in staff or staff salaries in the absence of a proper employee consultation process which might yield alternative, innovative and economically equally appealing solutions.

Given the political majority in Athens to stay in the eurozone, it is likely that Greece will succumb to the pressures from the creditors and adopt the reforms as required.