Last Updated: Friday, 19 September 2014, 13:55 GMT

2010 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Greece

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 9 June 2010
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2010 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Greece, 9 June 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c4fec793b3.html [accessed 21 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Population: 11,200,000
Capital: Athens
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

Investigations into last year's barbaric attack against Konstantina Kuneva have been slow and inefficient, although an attempt to archive the case was countered. Leaders of the journalists' trade union were targeted in a series of explosions. The right to strike is subject to ambiguous restrictions.

Trade union rights in law

Basic trade union rights are guaranteed, although with certain limitations. The law stipulates that workers have the right to form and join trade unions without prior authorisation. Police have the right to organise and to hold demonstrations, but not to strike. The right to strike is also limited for public servants, employees of local government agencies and judicial officials, as well as in enterprises of public nature or of public benefit if deemed vital to serving the basic needs of the society. Furthermore, the criteria for declaring a strike illegal are vague, as the courts issue their rulings after weighing the opposing interests of workers and employers, assessing the broad implications of the strike and applying the proportionality principle. All strikes must be called by recognised trade unions, and wildcat strikes are prohibited.

Trade union rights in practice and violations in 2009

Background: The Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement won the general elections in October, inheriting a deep recession, a ballooning public debt, and industrial unrest that included violent clashes between the police and demonstrators. In December, the prime minister unveiled a programme of stringent spending cuts and a public sector pay freeze.

Banks oppose sectoral collective bargaining: Banks in Greece have in recent years systematically pursued a strategy of avoiding sectoral-level collective bargaining. The largest banks and the Hellenic Bank Association EET (which does not consider itself an employers' organisation) have refused to negotiate with the Greek Federation of Bank Employee Unions (OTOE), preferring to bargain at the company level and to implement individualised pay schemes. When the OTOE applied for mediation, the EET requested the Athens Administrative Court of First Instance to stop the mediation procedure. The court's preliminary ruling rejected the EET claim.

Konstantina Kuneva update – investigation unsatisfactory: Konstantina Kuneva, the leader of the All Attica Union of Cleaners and Domestic Workers (PEKOP) was brutally attacked in December 2008, presumably in connection with her trade union activities. Kuneva, who had been intimidated to stop defending cleaners' rights, suffered severe injuries, including loss of sight in one eye and the ability to speak (see the 2009 edition of the Survey). An official investigation into the case was launched, but it was criticised by human rights organisations for being slow and neglectful. The police only suspected a crime of passion and disregarded Kuneva's trade union activities.

Following a 22,000-signature strong petition in May, the Deputy Minister of the Interior pledged to organise a thorough and impartial investigation to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice. However in June, the investigating judge assigned to the case decided to shelve it, even though the perpetrators had not been identified. Then, on 12 November, the Council of Misdemeanours in Athens upheld the prosecutors' demand to proceed with the investigation. Konstantina Kuneva remained in hospital at the end of the year, awaiting further treatment.

Journalists attacked: On 30 November, the office of Moschos Voitsidis, President of the Journalists' Union of Macedonia-Thrace Daily Newspapers, and the apartment of Panagiotis Nestoridis, Vice President of the Journalists' Health Fund EDOEAP, were targeted in a series of explosions. The International Federation of Journalists and the European Federation of Journalists condemned the attacks and demanded a full investigation. Other journalists and media employees were also victims of violence during the year.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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