Gov’t puts focus on labor reforms, IMF participation
The government continued negotiations yesterday with representatives of the country’s international creditors with the central aim of securing a palatable agreement on labor reform that will satisfy its defiant rhetoric and the demands of SYRIZA party members.
According to senior government aides, the leftist-led coalition wants to wrap up the second review of the country’s third bailout before December 5, the date of a crucial Eurogroup, in order to kick-start talks on debt relief, which has become something of a holy grail.
However, there is mounting concern within the government that creditors may make further demands which would derail its planning for a deal in time for the Eurogroup.
Apart from the fiscal gap for 2018, yesterday’s negotiations focused on labor reform and the possibility of extending collective labor negotiations in order to appease party purists within ruling SYRIZA.
The revival of collective negotiations was one of the party’s major campaign pledges before it swept to power in the elections of January 2015.
Speaking to Skai TV yesterday, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said that the government’s aim is for the Greek labor market to regain the right to extend collective labor negotiations, as is the case “in all of Europe.”
But, he added, the International Monetary Fund has an entirely different perspective on the matter. The IMF’s stance is reportedly the government’s biggest headache at the moment.
“The main thing we want from the IMF is for it to stop sitting on the fence. In other words to tell us whether it’s in or out of the program. It must decide,” Tzanakopoulos said.