Greece aims to stem layoffs

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Greece's new coalition government will seek to stem layoffs and extend by two years the application period of a tough recovery plan imposed in return for EU-IMF loans, an official document said on Saturday.

The policy document released by the conservative-led coalition government said an upcoming effort to “revise” Greece's EU-IMF bailout deal in talks with creditors includes “the extension of the fiscal adjustment by at least two years” to 2016.

The aim would be to meet fiscal goals “without further cuts to salaries, pensions and public investment,” it said, announcing a freeze on further civil service layoffs and a boost to unemployment benefits.

“The aim is to avoid layoffs of permanent staff, but to economise a serious amount through non-salary operational costs and less bureaucracy,” the document said.

The new government said it wanted to review minimum wage cuts and measures taken earlier this year to facilitate private-sector layoffs, arguing that collective labour agreements would “return to the level defined by European social law” and what Europeans have agreed on.

It said employers and unions should be allowed to set the private sector minimum wage, which was cut by 22 percent to 586

euros ($736) in February among additional austerity measures taken to clinch a new rescue deal.

Greece remains under intense international pressure to implement the terms of the EU-IMF bailout package that has kept the indebted country's economy afloat for two years.

European Commission, IMF and European Central Bank inspectors return to Athens on Monday to resume discussions suspended because of Greece's two-month political deadlock brought to an end by elections last Sunday. -Sapa-AFP


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