Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras paid homage to International Labour Day on Wednesday 1 May, referring to the importance of labour protections and the fact that 2019 was the first anniversary “after the exit from the memoranda, which have hurt employment through its devaluation, with dramatic consequences for Greek society and economy.”
“The struggle for the protection of labour rights and the workers, the struggle for the justice of many is permanent and it is our priority,” he stressed.
“Today is the 133th anniversary since the workers’ struggle for dignity in Chicago. The basis for the development of the labour movement were laid in May 1886 and has always been an inspiration for the movements that protect the rights of the many around the world. Especially in the years of neoliberalism when the imbalance between capital and labour is threatening the viability of economies, societies and the environment itself, the struggle for labour protection is the duty of every progressive and democratic citizen.
Today, however, is the celebration of the first Labour Day after exiting the memoranda, which hurt employment through its devaluation, with dramatic consequences for Greek society and economy.
Three months ago the minimum wage increased to 650 euros and the unfair measure of the sub-salary was abolished for young employees under the age of 25 entering the labour market. Now, all employees are treated on equal terms.
There have been eight months since the favourable arrangement for collective labour agreements. Significant steps have been taken that are gradually healing the wounds of the disastrous policies of the memoranda that violated many of the workers’ acquis. Policies, which the main opposition has strongly supported and is seeking to bring them back.
With employment support policies, the unemployment rate has fallen to 18.5 pct, according to Eurostat. However, we can not be complacent, since it is still high and there is no doubt that we still have a lot to do. Protecting the world of labour is a prerequisite for social cohesion, but it is also a prerequisite for hope and prospect for young people and the future of Greece.
The struggle for the protection of labour rights and the workers, the struggle for the justice of many is permanent and it is our priority. We are not going back. We have the power and we will achieve it.”