Greece labour unions up in arms over new six-day work week

Greece became the first European Union country to implement a six-day work week in a bid by the government to boost productivity that drew intense criticism from labour unions.

Under the law, which went into effect on Monday, private businesses that offer round-the-clock services can provide staff the option to work an additional two hours each day or an additional eight-hour shift with 40 per cent added to the daily wage.

The initiative does not include workers in the food service and tourism industries.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has called the new work week “worker-friendly” and meant to make sure employees are compensated for overtime while cracking down on undeclared work.

Akis Sotiropoulos, the executive committee member of the Greek civil servants’ union Adedy said the national government’s decision to extend the work week to six days is running the opposite way of every other European country.

“It makes no sense whatsoever,” Sotiropoulos said, according to The Guardian. “When almost every civilised country is enacting a four-day week, Greece decides to go the other way.”

Greek workers were already putting in an average of 41 hours a week, the most in Europe, according to statistics compiled by the European Union agency Eurostat. (UPI)

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