Greek parliament backs labour reforms despite widespread protests

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AFP / Louisa Gouliamaki Young people shout slogans during a protest rally against the latest reform measures in front of the Greek parliament building in Athens on May 8, 2016
AFP / Louisa Gouliamaki Young people shout slogans during a protest rally against the latest reform measures in front of the Greek parliament building in Athens on May 8, 2016

Greek labour law is set to be updated with flexible work times and paternity leave after the country’s parliament passed legislation late on Wednesday, parliamentary broadcaster VOULI-TV reported.

Although the proposal prompted work stoppages and strikes in the weeks leading up to the vote, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had the votes in the legislature to push the measure through by virtue of his party having 158 of the house’s 300 seats.

Protests against the changes left some government offices unstaffed at points on Wednesday. Similarly, some ferry services were unavailable due to staff walkouts, as were some bus, train and tram services. Demonstrations had also been promised.

At the same time, no disruptions to air travel were reported and hotels, banks, supermarkets and most stores operated normally.

Unions are angered by new flexibility guidelines that would let employees work for up to 50 hours a week, so long as anything beyond 40 hours a week is treated as overtime that is eventually compensated with time off.

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