Systematic violations of rights

Same as last year


Workers' rights violations

Right to trade union activities

In Greece, Law 4808/2021 provided for the establishment of an electronic general Registry of Trade Unions of Employees maintained by the Ministry of Labour. This system subjects trade unions to compulsory registration and grants legal status and the entitlement to exercise constitutional rights, such as collective bargaining, organisation of strikes, and protecting union representatives against anti-union measures, only to registered organisations. The establishment of the Registry severely hindered the functioning of trade union organisations and the exercise of their rights, as was observed by the Council of State, which ruled in 2022 (decision 2175/2022) that the suspension of these trade union rights in case of failure to properly register constituted a “manifestly disproportionate and particularly serious interference in the right to freedom of association”. The Council also took issue with the mandatory registration of sensitive personal data of trade union officials (elected or candidate), without their consent. The case is still pending before the Plenary Session of the Council of State.

Union busting

In the private sector in Greece, employers dismissed, transferred and downgraded unionised workers, or used the threat of such measures against workers to discourage them from joining a union.

Right to collective bargaining

In Greece, the legislative framework adopted in the context of the bail-out agreements (Memoranda) in the past decade have severely obstructed collective bargaining in the country and the consequences were still visible in 2023. Employers often engaged in bad faith during collective bargaining processes, knowing that the legal mechanisms by which unions could appeal to arbitration in case of stalemate have been removed.

Employers often circumvented genuine representation of workers in collective bargaining processes by engaging with “associations of persons”. These associations form a caricature of trade union organisations, as their members do not enjoy protection against anti-union discrimination and, therefore, they have no real bargaining power vis-à-vis the employer.

Right to collective bargaining

In Greece, violations of collective agreements were common. Companies often refused to apply existing collective labour agreements. This behaviour was further compounded by Law 4808/2021, which provides that in case of challenge of a collective agreement before the courts, the collective agreement is suspended until a final court decision is issued. The law bears the risk of suspending the implementation of collective agreements for long periods of time, pending review by the judiciary, and thus depriving workers of the benefit of the negotiated provisions.

Workers’ rights in law

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