Greek residents took to the streets in the first general strike since the pandemic began: Europeans are protesting against government proposals to introduce a four-day workweek.
It is about reforming the labor law with the introduction of flexible working hours, which could involve longer working hours while increasing the number of days off to three per week. But in Greece, where unemployment rates are the highest in Europe, people fear that employers could use the new measures to exploit employees.
The reform involves a number of changes, but demonstrators are more concerned about those that would impose a workday of more than eight hours. The country’s labor minister, Kostis Hatzidakis, defended the government’s initiative by saying that the innovations would provide employees with more flexible hours and that the maximum number of work hours per week would not exceed 40.
The country’s largest private sector union, in turn, argues that the new law could make life “hell” for employees.
The strike has already led to disruptions in transport: trains do not run in the country, where the tourist season has just begun. Teachers and doctors are expected to take part in the protests.
In recent months, the question of a four-day workweek has also been discussed in Russia. In October, Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of the Security Council of Russia, spoke about such a regime. On June 10, Minister of Labor and Social Protection Anton Kotiakov said that the transition to a four-day week in the country is not relevant and there are already opportunities for the formation of a flexible schedule.