"The government is waging a great struggle to complete the second review and a great battle for labour issues," Labour Minister Efi Achtsioglou said on Tuesday, while addressing the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) conference "Crisis - Reforms - Growth".
"It is a negotiation in which the Greek positions reflect the need to open up a new path, to once again give prospects to Greek society. Opposed to these positions are the positions expressed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for further internal devaluation, further decline in labour rights and violation of the European acquis," she said.
For the IMF and the neoliberal forces in Europe, Greece served as a model for what must happen in Europe regarding labour relations, Achtsioglou noted. "Everyone in Europe, regardless of what happens in Greece and the negotiation, is discussing the issue of collective bargaining and this singular state of exception for our country," she added.
According to Achtsioglou, the Greek side sought to once again put solidarity and respect for the European acquis at the centre of the negotiation. Growth, she added, would have to be based on a new model that reversed the 'brain drain' and slowed unemployment, creating jobs with full labour and social insurance rights, and the restoration of normality in labour relations.
She also noted that policies of internal devaluation and compressed labour costs imposed after 2009, through which Greek workers lost 26 pct of their nominal per capita income, were shown in practice to have "remarkably little impact on the balance of trade deficit."