Participants agreed to move forward on discussions concerning key labour law issues, notably in the area of collective dismissals and industrial relations.
“Social dialogue is the basis for sustainable policies that can create new jobs,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “This agreement is a very positive step in getting women and men in Greece back to work.”
Greece has the highest jobless rate in the European Union – at 27 per cent – with 1.3 million people out of work, according to latest figures published by the EU’s statistical agency, Eurostat.
The meeting came after Greece’s Labour and Social Security Minister Ioannis Vroutsis requested the ILO’s assessment of current laws governing layoffs in the private sector. He also sought a dialogue with labour unions and employers’ associations for proposed changes to Greek laws governing trade unions facilitated by the ILO.
The meeting comes amid the fifth, and possibly final, review of Greece’s economic reform progress by troika auditors consisting of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
In exchange for multi-billion euro emergency financing, Greece has been implementing an austerity and economic reform program since 2010.
Greece expects its economy to expand by 0.6 per cent this year in the first growth since 2007. The government also forecasts expansion of 2.9 per cent next year and 3.7 per cent in 2016.
The meeting gathered the Minister of Labour, high-level representatives of the Greek Government, and leaders of the G.S.E.E./Greek General Confederation of Labour, as well as the SEV/Hellenic Federation of Enterprises and Small and Medium Sized Employers (SMEs) including the ESEE/National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce, the G.S.E.V.E.E/Hellenic Confederation of Professional Craftsmen and Merchants, and SETE/Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises.