Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras took the opportunity of Labour Day to declare in a message that the country will be finally making a clean exit out of Troika imposed austerity programme and supervision.
Tsipras acknowledged the difficult years and compromises that had to be made but also ‘important victories in battles seen as hopeless, Greece was finally able to stand on its feet again’.
“We are exiting the programmes cleanly, without the new commitments that many considered a foregone conclusion,” he said.
“We are fighting this battle in the most adverse conditions of neoliberal capitalism, in the Greece of memorandums that bred widespread precariousness and insecurity on all levels,” he added.
The Greek PM claimed his government had managed to fend off many IMF demands concerning labour rights but the best news was undoubtedly the steady drop in unemployment rates, which had fallen from 27.2% in April 2014 to 20% at present.
“In this way, as the programme ends, we are gradually passing to a new age of normality that allows us to once again plan the country’s production model and place workers at its centre. This means, first and foremost, restoring collective agreements and raising the minimum wage. It also means that, for the first time in years, the implementation of an organised policy for fighting unemployment,” Tsipras said.
This included systematic inspections to combat undeclared and underdeclared employment, imposing penalties on employers that broke the law, he added.
Conclusing his May 1 message the Greek PM said that while much remained to be done, protection of labour and social cohesion was a condition for democracy and also served as an example in Europe, which was at risk from authoritarianism and far-right populism.