Gov’t puts fo­cus on la­bor re­forms, IMF par­tic­i­pa­tion

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

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.

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