“Our aim is to lead to a significant increase, because there are obviously serious needs of the employees and their families”, said Mr. Hatzidakis
In the amendment to determine the minimum wage for the year 2023, the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs mentioned, Kostis Hatzidakisspeaking earlier today in plenary.
“The 2013 law has been applied both by the SYRIZA government and by the Mitsotakis government, twice, and it will be applied now for the third time. Last year we passed a regulation that shortened the process, and the minimum wage was determined to be effective from May 1st. Now, this year, also due to the expansion of the tourist season, it comes a month earlier, on April 1st. For this reason, the preceding consultation procedures must be shortened. There is the consultation with the institutes of the social partners, with the social partners themselves, with the Council of Ministers, with the KEPE, with a five-member scientific committee, and then the Minister of Labor comes and proposes”, said Kostis Hatzidakis. He added that the Minister of Labor will make a proposal to the cabinet, at the latest by the end of the first ten days of March.
“Our aim is to lead to a significant increase, because there are obviously serious needs of the employees and their families. And on the other hand, we are interested in this increase being balanced, fair. In other words, to strike a balance between the protection of workers and the safeguarding of the competitiveness of businesses”, said Mr. Hatzidakis.
The minister also referred to the annual results of the ERGANI system, to underline that this report records an increase in the number of employees by 263,000, and an increase in average monthly salaries of 12.4%. “These increases are above inflation, not counting the new increase that will be given very soon for the minimum wage,” said Kostis Hatzidakis. “Not only did the minimum wages increase, but the wages above the minimum wage also increased,” he noted.
“We are not celebrating about it. We know that a lot still needs to be done, for the workers. One of our main priorities for the new four-year period is wages, but at the same time we cannot tolerate constant catastrophizing,” said the Labor Minister.
In relation to unemployment, Mr. Hatzidakis said that ELSTAT figures show that from the 17.5% that the government received, today it is at 11.4%.
“We want social policy, not with big words and slogans, but with work – and the work of the government speaks clearly.”
Commenting on what the Minister of Labor said about the minimum wage, the SYRIZA parliamentary representative Yannis Ragousis said that the government is speeding up the process for the minimum wage in view of the elections and in any case, “the minimum wage has lost 19% of its purchasing power” . In fact, the result for workers will be the loss of their purchasing power, a reduction in their salary, he argued.
The procedure for the minimum wage must return to the social partners, said PASOK-Movement of Change MP, Evangelia Liakoulis, who did not fail to emphasize that the minimum wage increase is a one-way street. Mrs. Liakoulis reminded that her party has submitted an amendment for the determination of the minimum wage by the social partners, for the national collective labor agreement and the calculation of the three years. The PASOK MP warned that the express procedure launched by the government leaves no room for real and meaningful negotiation with the social partners.
The ND parliamentary representative, Haris Theocharis, pointed out that in the past there had been many complaints, both from accountants and from businesses in tourism, that the data on wages had to be changed on ERGANI and the other platforms, because the increase in the minimum wage it was happening later than the start of the season. In relation to the return of the process to the social partners, requested by the opposition, Mr. Theocharis said that the unemployed are absent from the negotiation. “Each time we had increases that the economy could not bear, and these increases were paid by the unemployed, because we had increased layoffs,” said the ND deputy. This problem is solved by the intervention of the government in the process which takes into account all issues, including the interest of the unemployed.
“The amendment has pre-election characteristics. But the KKE does not stand for that,” said Manolis Syntyhakis, who called for the repeal of “the unacceptable Vroutsis-Ahtsioglou law, because it abolished free negotiations and was a milestone for capital, for the reduction of labor costs.” “We believe that this unacceptable framework should be abolished and free negotiations should be restored. The basis of this law was the profitability of the business groups,” said Mr. Syntyhakis and asked for wages in line with real needs and wages that would cover the losses of the last 10 to 12 years. He also asked for the reinstatement of the 13th and 14th salary, the reinstatement of the 13th and 14th pension and the introduction of relief measures such as the abolition of VAT on basic necessities and excise duty on fuel.
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