2015 ITUC Global Rights Index Rating: 5
Court acquitted farmers who shot Bangladeshi strawberry pickers:
In July 2014, a court acquitted farmers who admitted shooting 28 Bangladeshi strawberry pickers when they asked for months of back pay. Politicians, unions and anti-racist groups condemned the verdicts, describing them as a black day for justice in a case that had shone a light on the appalling conditions in which migrant workers are often kept in Greece. Two others, accused of aggravated assault and illegal firearms possession, were jailed for 14 years and seven months and eight years and seven months, but were freed pending appeal. The strawberry pickers were shot in April 2013 when they demanded to be paid for six months' work at a farm in Manolada in the southern Peloponnese. Four were badly injured in the attack. The migrants worked in subhuman conditions without access to proper hygiene or basic sanitation.
Trade unionists released:
In May 2014, members of the Greek metalworkers' union were set free after a two-year struggle by the union for their release. Victims of severely deteriorating and precarious working conditions for over a year, the workers at the Hellenic Shipyard in Skaramanga went on strike on 4 October 2012. The shipyard workers' wages had not been paid for a whole year. Clashes with police forces occurred during a subsequent protest action at the Ministry of Defence that led to the arrest of workers. As a result of the attacks by the Police and the Ministry, charges against 12 trade unionists, including POEM's President, were filed and their struggle has been carried into the courts. The court hearing took place on 1 October 2013, but the ruling was postponed to 5 May 2014.
Government invokes emergency laws to stop strikes:
In July 2014, electricity workers went on strike against the privatisation of the Public Power Corporation. The government referred to emergency laws in order to deem the strike illegal and force the workers to return back to work. Workers were threatened with arrests if they continued the strike action. Unions protested the use of authoritarian laws against workers defending public goods.
The ITUC Global Rights Index Ratings:
1 // Irregular violation of rights
Collective labour rights are generally guaranteed. Workers can freely associate and defend their rights collectively with the government and/or companies and can improve their working conditions through collective bargaining. Violations against workers are not absent but do not occur on a regular basis.
2 // Repeated violation of rights
Countries with a rating of 2 have slightly weaker collective labour rights than those with the rating 1. Certain rights have come under repeated attacks by governments and/or companies and have undermined the struggle for better working conditions.
3 // Regular violation of rights
Governments and/or companies are regularly interfering in collective labour rights or are failing to fully guarantee important aspects of these rights. There are deficiencies in laws and/or certain practices which make frequent violations possible.
4 // Systematic violation of rights
Workers in countries with the rating 4 have reported systematic violations. The government and/or companies are engaged in serious efforts to crush the collective voice of workers putting fundamental rights under threat.
5 // No guarantee of rights
Countries with the rating of 5 are the worst countries in the world to work in. While the legislation may spell out certain rights workers have effectively no access to these rights and are therefore exposed to autocratic regimes and unfair labour practices.
5+ // No guarantee of rights due to the breakdown of the rule of law
Workers in countries with the rating 5+ have equally limited rights as countries with the rating 5. However, in countries with the rating 5+ this is linked to dysfunctional institutions as a result of internal conflict and/or military occupation. In such cases, the country is assigned the rating of 5+ by default.
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