Greek unions, employers reject wage cuts
By DEREK GATOPOULOS | Associated Press – 5 hrs ago
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Unions and employers' associations in Greece have rejected demands for private-sector wage cuts, despite pressure for the country to introduce strict austerity measures if it is to receive a crucial bailout package.
In a letter to the government Friday, unions and employers said they rejected proposals for the minimum wage to be slashed and annual salaries to be paid to Greek workers in 14 installments.
Wage costs have emerged as a major sticking point in negotiations between the government and rescue creditors from Greece's partners in the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund for a new bailout worth at least euro130 billion ($170 billion).
Without that deal, and a related bond swap that seeks to cut the country's privately held debt, Greece would go bankrupt in late March, when it faces a euro14.5 billion bond redemption it cannot afford.
Government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis said the bond swap deal, known as the Private Sector Involvement, or PSI, and the parallel negotiations with the eurozone, European Central Bank and IMF debt inspectors for the second bailout were almost complete.
"...he believes that when you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity...you do not slam it shut behind you...you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed."